V6 Transplant Diary - December 2002

Saturday - 7 December

Well I thought I better update my diary, even though I don't have much to say. I am still in Townsville and haven't had a chance to work on my car since October. However I have been doing a lot of organizing. 

I did come back to Brisbane over the 16/17th of November weekend for the Manx Club Australian Fraser Island trip. 

Whilst back I trial fitted my adaptor plate and it looks like it fits great. Luckily I have a lot of really great friends to help me organize stuff while I am in Townsville. Dan lined up the water jet cutting for the adaptor, Dyno is machining my hybrid flywheel, and there are others helping here and there but the main helper is Brad. Brad's organizing the parts for my rear disc brake parts, dropping off gearboxes to Leon's Motors, chasing heaps of other parts for me, clearing his shed so I have access to all his gear to finish the transplant, and will no doubt help with the install itself. Thanks for all your help Brad, it would be difficult to pull this off without your help.

So what am I trying to pull off? Well I will be back in Brisbane for 3 weeks over xmas, getting back on the 14th of December. My plan is to finish the V6 transplant during that time, get it all approved, and drive the car back to Townsville. It will be tough but we'll try our hardest.

I have also decided to build a new gearbox, because I can basically do a swap between my current gearbox and a 091 without much exchange of money. I currently have a 002 (1800 5 rib box) that is quite low geared. The engine sits on about 3,000rpm on the highway (at 100kph). When I have a 200HP V6 there won't be much point having it sit at those rpm's. So I am putting in a stronger 091 (2lt 6 rib box). I still wanted lower rpm at 100kph, so I am getting an Albin 0.70:1 ratio 4th gear set put in. That will drop the rpm to around 2,150rpm at 100kph. So it will definitely be a highway cruiser, good for the long trip to Townsville. The funny thing is it won't hurt 1/4 times because 3rd will rev out to 190kph. I am also probably going to get a Vanagon 4-spider diff put in for a bit of extra strength. 

By the way - I also updated my acceleration calc program so you can figure out what rpm you will be doing in a certain gear at a certain rpm. Like what rpm you will do in 4th at 100kph. That's how I selected the 4th ratio I wanted.

Friday - 13 December

I just bought the latest Zoom magazine, which has an article on a VX Commodore Super Sedan race car with a 595kW (800HP) twin turbo 2.5L Mazda KL V6 in it (the same as what is going in my Baja). Now that is a crazy amount of power. The engine lives at RPM's up to 9,500 for entire races, runs 2.2bar of boost, kicks out 800HP, and uses the standard crank. I think that goes to show how well engineered the engine is standard.

Above - one fat commodore.

Above - Twin 65mm throttle bodies and huge intercoolers

Above - Swwwweeeeeettttt!!!!

The shops website is http://www.austrackmotorsport.com.au/

For more info and scans of the magazine click here!

( Since Wes currently does not have a computer Brad will be keeping this page up to date over the next week, so you will have to excuse the grammar and punctuation ) 

Monday 16 Dec 02 (Brad) - Well it has begun, the new flywheel was picked up from BHSS Automotive engineering. Even after instructions to the contrary they decided to change a few small details. Oh well it should still work. Anyway it is at Brad's place now alone with heaps of other Mazda stuff we will be cramming into the Baja. The plan at this stage is to have the 1915 and 1800 transmission out and the rear parcel area of the Baja cut out buy COB Tuesday. Also plan to have the V6 bolted to the new transmission and hopefully ready to start making up the sub frame...... Pictures and more info to follow soon...

Tuesday 17 Dec 02 -

OK, so I jumped on Brad's laptop. Here are some pics of the flywheel, the welding is not as straight as I thought it'd be, but hopefully it hold's. 

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So you can see how the vw ring gear has been machined down and then pressed onto the outside of the V6 flywheel. The shop decided the press fit wasn't enough so they welded the ring gear on.

We transported the V6 over to Brad's, on it's trolley, on the car trailer. Not the best way to do it, but it worked. I also tapped the thread into the adaptor and put studs in. To my surprise all the holes seem to be in the right spot (I wasn't so confident about the bellhousing holes). So all the stuff is transported, and we are ready to start work. We were delayed a little with Brad's shed getting concreted a little later than expected. But tomorrow we should start cutting and destroy all traces of VW originality (not that it had much left being a Baja ).

Wednesday 18 Dec 02 -

We got stuck into pulling the Baja apart today. It drove in this morning looking like this

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It soon looked like this...

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The funny part is it's quicker to take the guards off than it is to take the wheels off, due to the centerline wheel bolts being a pain.

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Pretty soon the cage was off and you could see the old motor, why was I taking it out again?

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The engine was out soon after that...

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It was about this time Brad got really excited because he got to hack large holes in my car, notice the smile on his face...

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No firewall at all. looks weird being able to see the dash from the back of the car...

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While Brad was busy doing the butchering work, I was busy doing the more delicate work. The water jet cutters cut the holes all slightly under size, so I had to slightly elongate the engine dowel holes. The adaptor now fits perfect and is beautifully centered. We also had to go for a drive to find some studs to mount the adaptor to the bellhousing. Unfortunately no-one seems to sell M10 studs, so after driving around most of Brisbane we found someone that had a 1m length of grade 8.8 booker rod. I then had to cut this into suitable lengths, and make 4 engine studs.

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Soon enough I had the engine and box bolted together.

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We then wheeled the trolley up for the first trial fit. There was heaps of room for it. My Baja seems to be bigger than the rear cut beetle I test mounted it in.

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With the rear scoop attached it looks like it will all be a neat fit.

So tomorrow we hope to build all the supporting rear frame to hang the engine and box from. As long as we don't to drive around Brisbane searching for parts again we should be right.....

Thursday 19 Dec 02 -

Well I didn't get stuck driving around for parts today, but Brad still did. He went for a trip to buy some steel tubing to make the engine support frame, and also some 8mm stuff for fuel line. He also got stuck talking to alot of people on the phone, so the rear tubing hadn't gotten as far as we'd hoped. 

But he did get some done...

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Basically we decided the rear of the car needed some extra strength to handle the weight and the torque of the V6. We are running bars from the torsion tubes, up and over to the rear of the car. Two bars are also added between them for strength, as can be seen. We will then run bars down to the frame horns. An unboltable section will then be run around the rear of the engine to pick up the rear engine mount on the V6. The radiator will sit in the open area above the gearbox. The rear seat belt center anchors will be reinserted into the lower bar which is over the gearbox nose cone.

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I put the finishing touches on the adaptor plate. I inserted two 8x30mm dowels through the adaptor into the gearbox. You can see me holding one up, one in the adaptor at the bottom, and one in the adaptor near the starter motor bolt (top right). I peened over the adaptor to ensure the studs and dowels don't fall/screw out of the adaptor this way. I also added some loctite stud lock to hold them in. The adaptor is now secured to the bellhousing. I plan to normally unbolt the adaptor from the V6, so the bellhousing to adaptor connection should never need to be broken. 

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I torqued up the flywheel, put the clutch on, torqued up the pressure plate, and put the throw-out bearing in the gearbox. The engine and gearbox were ready to be bolted together again. Once together I got a set of jumper leads and my battery and tried cranking the engine over with the 2lt VW starter to see how it liked it. It turned over extremely slowly and had a real struggle. But I think once it is connected by proper cables and not jumper leads the VW starter should be able to crank the high compression V6 ok.

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Another thing I had to think about was what to do with the power steering pump. I had no need for it, but couldn't remove it because it's pulley was needed for the water pump belt loop. So I decided to pull it apart and remove the sliding vane pump parts (bottom bits). I then greased the rear bearing and put it back together. I also had to drill and tap some blocking bolts to block the pump inlets and outlets. 

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With the engine and gearbox in position Brad was busy making the rear subframe. We had to keep adding bits of the car to make sure nothing clashed. The V6 looks very at home in the Baja's engine bay. Although you can't see much, part of the rear disc brakes have been installed.

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With the top part of the cage on you can hardly notice it's there.

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I also starting cutting up my nice dash to make room for the V6 instrument cluster. I was surprised I could see both the tacho and speedo through the VW sports steering wheel. The V6 instrument cluster is a very close fit to the gauge cluster area I had before.

Friday 20 Dec 02 -

Another busy day but not much to show for it. Half of Brad's day was wasted trying to buy bits and pieces. Everyone shutting for xmas is a problem. 

I replaced a rear wheel bearing and repacked them. Also attached the fuel tank and got it ready to have a 10mm outlet welded to it. Neatened up the instrument hole in the dash and made a bracket to support the gauges. Played with the intake to figure out where to run it, and how. Ended up using some PVC pipe for now. I really need to wait for the bar work to be finished so I can run the various lines and wires.

Some bar work did get done...

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We balanced the radiator in a position where we wanted it...

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Then welded and clamped some mounts for it. The support bars will remain behind the back seat, so the back seat will be going back in the car. 

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I think with the radiator in this position there should be plenty of air flow to it.

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Extra bars were added down and along side the frame horns. These were welded to the horns for strength. Even more bars were added to make a strong hoop. The bars still need to be trimmed.

Saturday 21 Dec 02 -

Will be busy all day, nothing to report.

Sunday 22 Dec 02 -

Will be busy all day, nothing to report.

Monday 23 Dec 02 -

Well we're slowly progressing, slowly being the key word. A friend got a nice stainless steel surge tank made up for me for a good price, but I have been struggling with it most of the day. The top wasn't quite flat so it wouldn't seal properly. Originally it had 5 bolts, so I stuck another 5 in to make it seal, but it still didn't. Then I filed the top down flat and reassembled it, blew a bit of compressed air in it to check it sealed and ended up splitting one of the ground down welds. So it is in need of repair. But hey it looks pretty.

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My plan is to sit this little tank on the floorpan, below the original tank. Then just have the original tank gravity feed into this one. The surge tank then holds an original intank fuel pump for this model V6. It should be a neat little set-up and stop any fuel starvation problems when offroading or cornering.

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There was something else that slowed us down today, it was a new puppy. Here he is hard at work sleeping on my front seat. He kept trying to help all day, and is so cute you have to stop working and give him some attention.

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Here is the engine mounted in the car, basically hanging off the gearbox. You can see it sits up nice and high and won't effect my ground clearance.

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This angle shows it a bit better. You can see the engine and standard exhaust are inline with the underneath of the car.

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This view shows the rear hoop section we (mainly Brad) made to pick up the rear engine mount. We decided to take the bar under the existing exhaust so we could mount a bash plate and protect the sump. The photo is taken from up in the air, so the bar looks like it's lower than it really is.

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This shows the rear hoop around the engine which picks up the factory rear mount for the KLZE V6. The mount bracket will have gussets when finished. The rear hoop is removable to make engine removal easier.

Tuesday 24 Dec 02 -

The bar work is pretty much finished now. A little bit of cleaning them up and painting them and then the engine and gearbox can be bolted in for the last time (we have taken it in and out a heap of times so far). Just gotta remember to put the fuel line through the tunnel first. We still have our little helper helping out...

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After we had all the bars tacked in place, we pulled the engine and gearbox so Brad could lay the final welds. 

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Meanwhile I took advantage of the engine and box being out, and painted the new gearbox blue. 

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So the finished bar work looks a little like this. 

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Now you can see the braces we ran down the sides of the frame horns. This should stiffen them considerably. I think if I have a crash the engine and gearbox will be the only things to survive with their own roll cage and all.

Hopefully on Friday we will start bolting stuff back together. Then we can make the radiator pipework and attach the wiring.

Wednesday 25 Dec 02 -

Will be busy all day, for XMAS of course!!!, nothing to report.

Thursday 26 Dec 02 -

Will be busy all day, visiting family and friends, nothing to report.

Friday 27 Dec 02 -

Today I was finalising little things that need to be completed before the engine is bolted in for the last time. One of those little things were the fuel lines, which were actually a big thing. I bought some 8mm steel fuel line from a shop, but they didn't have enough. I managed to find someone that had a fuel line from a jeep that he thought might fit. So I ended up using that for the return line. The only thing was the jeep fuel line was extremely tough and I had real trouble bending it. But I got there in the end.

So now I have 3 fuel lines in the car, an 8mm line for the fuel supply, another 8mm line for the fuel return (needed for the EFI pressure regulator), and the old VW 6mm line that I will use for the carbon canister tank-vent line.

The 8mm lines exit the pan near the clutch and throttle cables. They have to be way over to the left to dodge the big type 2 gearbox. As you can see, a plate covers the original gearbox shifter hole, and the new shifter position is through the 2 inch lift kit.

I managed to die grind the original hole in the front of the tunnel big enough to fit the two 8mm lines in as well. You can also see where the surge tank will fit. A little close to the tie-rod, but it fits. The surge tank will be gravity fed from the original fuel tank, so I am also putting a 10mm outlet in the original tank to ensure it feeds the surge tank properly.

Hopefully tomorrow I will bolt the engine and radiator in properly and start running the wiring and radiator piping.

Saturday 28 Dec 02 -

I hopefully mounted the engine and gearbox for the last time. I also ran all the fuel lines, and had to make a bracket for the fuel filter to stop it from moving about while offroading.

I also went down to Supercheap Auto to buy a collection of radiator hoses so I can start running them. I am using stainless steel pipe for the straight sections, and rubber hoses at the corners. I also had to buy some weird size pipes to mount the air bleed tank at the highest point.

Due to our weird Australian rules, I need to have a working demister in order to get the V6 transplant approved. So I am going run this compact heater element / fan blower unit under the back seat (yes I am still going to be able to run a back seat). It will blow the hot air through the original VW ducts onto the front windscreen. This is a temporary measure until I put the entire climate control system in at a later date.

Sunday 29th Dec 02 -

The radiator piping is completed, and wasn't as hard as it first seemed. Flaring the end of the stainless pipe without a proper tool proved to be tricky. But a hammer and a suitably sized impact socket did the trick.

Brad finished the engine cage, by adding a tow bar hitch which also has bolts on top to mount the old aluminum cage to. It should provide an excellent point to tow bogged vehicles with. And of course I can attach a tow bar and tow a trailer. I think a small custom trailer for the Baja might be on the list of things to do in the future.

The rear disc installation is going well and almost installed. The vented rear discs (285mm) should give plenty of braking power. Rear disc brakes were another item needed to get the V6 conversion approved. The discs and calipers will be cleaned up before the final install.

I have also started tackling the nightmare of wires and connecting them to the engine. I am just using the MX6 wiring loom, without unnecessary pieces removed. The cracked surge tank is being repaired tomorrow, so hopefully the engine will be ready to be started by then.

Monday 30th Dec 02 -

No pictures tonight unfortunately. There wasn't much exciting to take pictures of. Basically I spent most of the day playing with the wiring. I have routed most of it to where I want it, and have almost finished it. I have to lengthen about 40 wires to go to the new instrument panel in the dash. So I cut the sections, made new lengthened pieces, and taped them all together, but then couldn't find the soldering iron! What a pain. So tomorrow I will have to remember my soldering iron.

I also started playing with the exhaust. I will run a single CBR1100 muffler and a catalytic converter for now. Hopefully it will be quite enough.

We also attempted welding a 10mm outlet on the fuel tank, but it didn't turn out so well. Then a good friend (Ben) noticed us struggling and said "I could braze it", hey that sounds easier. So he is doing that tonight.

So I wanted to start the car, but without fuel it is a bit of a problem. I had to settle with just turning the engine over instead. I found the stock 2lt VW starter seems to cope with the high compression V6 quite well, and turned it over with ease.

So tomorrow, hopefully, I will start the engine. (fingers crossed)

Tuesday 31st Dec 02 -

Bit of an early update today, as I have to get ready to go out tonight (New Years Eve and all).

I finished lengthening the wiring harness. It took a lot longer than expected. But I guess when you think I lengthened 36 wires by cutting them in half, getting another 36 coloured wires, cutting them to length, stripping back the insulation (at 144 wire ends), twisting and soldering them together (at 72 points) and then taping them up (again at 72 points), you realise why it takes a while. But it was worth it as I got to start the car today. It fired up and ran fine. Now I just have to finish the rest of the car.

I thought I'd also take a pic of the muffler I will be using. I also started putting the rear axles and brakes together for the last time.

Happy New Years for tonight!