V6 Transplant Diary - January 2004

Monday - 12 January

Well it's been quite a while since my last update, so I thought it was about time I updated my site / diary. I had actually been flat out at work at the end of last year hence no updates, and then had 4 weeks off over xmas in which I was just plain lazy

 I can say my new surge tank set-up is working well. I am only using a cheap facet LP pump and it is surviving. At first it stop and I thought it was dead. Whilst performing a post-mortem on it, I found it had rust flakes / metal particles in it from the main fuel tank (probably dislodged when I drilled and welded the new fitting into the fuel tank). The insides of the facet pump is a magnet, so the metal particles stuck all over that and basically seized the magnet in position. I cleaned the metal bits off the magnet and now it works fine again. I then bought a LP fuel filter and fitted it before the facet pump to prevent the problem from occuring again. Other than that, no more fuel problems, no weird cut-outs.

Mid September I went to the VWDCQ Action Day car show; http://www.vwdcqinc.org.au/actionday2003results.html 

Unfortunately I didn't get best Baja, even though many people told me they thought mine was the best. The trophy went to an unregistered show Baja that arrived and left on a trailer, and obviously hasn't been offroad. It had a V8 and looked cool from the rear, but the front still had superbug fenders on it which I thought looked kinda weird (see the pic in the above link). 

Then in Mid November I went to the Gold Coast VW show and swap meet. It was going to be a tough show as there was only an offroad class, so I was up against many very clean buggies. Lucky for me the show was peoples choice, and a lot of people must like my car as I won favorite offroad! Cool! Although the big surprise was getting 2nd Place in the Car Stereo class, which was judged by some guys from Gold Coast Car Sound. I didn't think I would stand a chance, but the judges said they liked my installation. They said it was neat and a lot of work had gone into it. Cool again!

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Lining up to get into the Gold Coast Show

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My two trophies! Yeah!

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My sound system for those that haven't seen it.
(yes I still have a rear seat)

The second last thing I said in my last update (September) was "It's at the level where hopefully it will retain some reliability. I use it offroad in remote places, so I don't want things breaking."

Well funny I said that. At the end of November I was on the Annual Manx Club Fraser Island Trip, and had my first loss of reliability. Pics of the trip can be found here;

Well here's how my weekend went...

I got back from Townsville friday night (was working there for 2 weeks) and madly prepared and packed the car, so got to bed late.

I woke up very early Saturday, ate some breakfast and headed off to the meeting place for the convoy up to the Island. I felt very ill and had to keep stopping at servo's on the way , eventually getting to the meeting place a little late and feeling like sh*t. I then told Brad I didn't know if I'd make it on the trip, so transferred the group esky to his car. I took some medication then parked beside a truck in the shade to rest for 1 hour and see if I felt up to going to Fraser at all.

An hour after the others left I figured I would soldier on as my stomach had calmed down. I managed to catch up about 1/2 an hour on the highway , and a bit more getting permits and fuel so they didn't end up waiting very long for me (group of maybe 13 Baja's / Buggies?).

We went over on the barge and brad got stuck being silly, but it was funny so I got a pic. Darryl gave Brad whiplash pulling him out.

We continued down the rough inland track til we found a cutting which turned out to be very very soft. I hit it about 4000rpm in first and started to slow, I figured I would stick it in 2nd and flatten it, but unfortunately I bogged down and stopped. 2nd attempt, I figured if I hit it in 4,500 in first again and don't grab second, I will be fine. wrong. 3rd attempt, I figured I needed to swing wide at the start and keep speed like brad did, and this time I hit it at 7,500rpm, made it at last. That cutting claimed a lot of bogged buggies and baja's. It was the one place where the hilux had an advantage over us

Finally we popped out on the open beach and I was having fun. I found gassing it in 2nd gear allowed gentle powerslides up to and over the 80kph speed limit! It was fun for sure.

Eventually made it to our campsite site and set-up for the night. Late afternoon me and Brad got up to our usually antics of stirring each other and challenged each other to a sand drag race. We decided to race about 100m, so that we didn't exceed the 80kph speedlimit, or not by much anyway. I thought it would be a close race. Brad has a 2020cc stroker in his buggy. He has about 75-80HP at the wheels (he won't tell anyone exactly), which is quite a lot in his light buggy. I thought he would get me in first gear for sure.

I went out and lined up at the start line, Brad pulled up beside me. The crowd of onlookers had gathered on the dune to watch the action. Terry felt brave and stood between us to wave us off for a start. I reversed back a little, gassed it, and lined up again (warming my tyres of course )

Terry's arms dropped and so did the clutches. First gear was all wheelspin for both of us, but I was edging ahead. Brad grabbed second and I continued to slowly pull away. Then I grabbed second, my go-fast in the sand gear. The back end squatted and it started to hook up, I started pulling away really really fast making Brad look like he was standing still. It was fun Terry got the best view, and my 100m long fishtailing tyre tracks were cool too! I will try to upload a video one day.

Update - Video can be found here - Videos

We had dinner and told stories, tried to plan events etc. My stomach was still feeling weak. We woke up the next morning and I had breakfast but still felt seedy. We started our journey north to the lighthouse. Just before Happy Valley my clutch stopped working. It felt like a broken clutch cable (lucky I carry a spare). I managed to go down the gears clutchless and park up at happy valley (a small shop and service station on Fraser Island). I crawled underneath and the cable was fine. Weird. After some tinkering we decided it was terminal, something like broken throw-out release forks or something. I left the Baja and went with Brad up to Eli creek.

A couple of other guys were heading home Sunday, so I opted to head off now with them so I could fix my car. We had a few dramas with the tides but eventually I drove from Happy Valley on Fraser Island to Brisbane with no clutch! Thanks to Tom for staying with me the whole way to ensure I made it.

Then Monday morning I washed the car and parked it in the shed. That's when I noticed the radiator dripping. overnight it had somehow gotten two holes in it. Very weird. Very lucky I hadn't stayed on Fraser the extra night, I would've been stuffed

So 2002 I was the only one to have no dramas, and 2003 I had all the dramas. Ironic isn't it.

After quite a bit of investigation I had decided that the radiator had died from salt water corrosion. I figure it was thin when I got it, and being on Fraser Island with all the salt water just pushed it over the edged. The whole front cut was covered in salt water corrosion when I bought it, it must've been from the boat trip from Japan. The radiator must have corroded through the final little bit Sunday night, when I was home but the car was still dirty / salty. Lucky I went home 1 day early. 

My solution to the radiator problem was to just buy another one, but to paint it black for extra protection. I managed to find one for $150 in perfect condition, and painted it with VHT barrel paint. The paint doesn't seem to have had any negative effect on the cooling. 

The clutch was something else entirely. I pulled the motor and this is what I found. 

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Those fingers don't look right!

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That piece of lining at the top definitely isn't right.

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Yep it's definitely broken!

After a bit of searching a most clutch people seemed to agree with the VW guru Gene Berg who said "What about the stock fabric type lining? - For many applications this is fine, however when high RPM is achieved you often blow this lining apart at the rivets".

So people are telling me the centrifugal forces are ripping the clutch plate apart, not so much the HP tearing it apart. I guess it wasn't designed to be doing almost 8,000rpm. Interesting. After a lot of talking to clutch people I had a heap of options put forward, but none seemed to be what I was after. I use more car offroad and want a smooth progressive clutch, so bonded clutchs, puck clutches, and solid clutches were out. 

My search for info continued. Sachs calls the max speed of the clutch the burst speed. Sachs has this to say on their website...
"Facings are individually designed to match engine performance; in order to prevent facing damage even by operating error (such as downshifting at high speeds), the burst speed is designed to be 1.7–2.0 times the maximum engine speed."
So basically, if I buy a late model 2.1lt syncro clutch (been told it's the strongest, although Sachs and Luk say it's the same as the other 228mm plates anyway) it should be able to handle at least 1.7 times the syncro's redline. So 1.7 x 5400 = 9180rpm. so it should be fine.

I also found a clutch facing material manufacturer that states the burst speed of it's linings are 12000rpm. I guess that reduces once you drill rivet holes through it, but still it seems ample.

I just kept thinking that the standard Mazda clutch is organic lined with nothing fancy and it survives just fine. So why shouldn't the VW clutch handle the same revs? I started leaning towards buying a good Sachs or Luk clutch plate as opposed to the no-name unit I had. 

I wanted to keep the sprung center as I drive it as an everyday car in traffic and over obstacles offroad. The sprung center is there to eliminate weird driveline vibrations and harmonics. I have a 0.70:1 ratio 4th so driveline harmonics while highway cruising is something I want to reduce.

In the end I bought a new genuine 228mm sachs clutch plate. The difference between it and my old one is quite noticable, and after looking at the Sachs clutch it was clear it was the way to go.

The old one has 6 springs the same size, a course rough looking lining, and brass looking solid rivets (apparently only relines normally have them).

The Sachs has at least 3 different spring sizes designed to absorb various frequency vibrations and makes the driveline smoother and quieter at idle and on the move. It also has a lining of material that is finer and neater, similar in appearance to the original Mazda clutch. If looks are anything to go by, it should last heaps better than the old one

I also dropped my pressure plate and flywheel down to "direct clutch" to have the pressure plate machined flat, and the assembly dynamically balanced. You can see from the old clutch the pressure plate wasn't quite flat. It was a slight (about 0.006" I think) concave shape that put the pressure on the outer 2/3 of the plate. It took a while to get the flywheel back as the clutch shops balancing machined died and I had to wait for it to be repaired.

So just before xmas I braved the heat (and man it was hot) to go down to the shed and install the new clutch. Xmas eve it went on it's first run, and I have been very impressed so far with the new clutches performance. Let me just say, the Sachs clutch is smooth.

When I had the old clutch in, I would get the occasional clutch shudder when using the clutch lightly, like reversing out of peoples driveways and stuff. I tried putting more bend in the bowden tube and doing the bellhousing strap up really tight, put it was always there.

With the new clutch, it's gone! No shudders, smoother take-up, more forgiving to drive. I think the different spring sizes in the Sachs clutch helps (as opposed to 6 equal springs in the other one). I also think the clutch plate itself is much more flexible. It's very nice. I'm very happy.

The old clutch cost $66, and the new one cost $156, so I guess you get what you pay for!

So all that drama took up a lot of time, and a bit of money. Unfortunately that meant my other plans for work on the car over xmas went down the drain. I had hoped to get the air-con installed, and possibly a new less restrictive exhaust built. But time and money wasn't on my side. All I managed to do was to install the air-con compressor on the motor and do some clearancing to the engine cage for it.

Over Jan 3-4 weekend I went up the beach again to double island point for the BLBVW / Manx Club beach trip. It was good fun and the car and clutch performed perfectly with no problems.

So still on my list of things to do is the air-con, if I can just work out how to squash it all under / in the dash...

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