V6 Transplant Diary - May 2003

Saturday - 10 May

Ok, so I have finally returned from Townsville and can finish off my V6 transplant. I basically have to do lots of little things needed to get the modifications approved (by the Department of Transport).

One of the things they require is an unleaded filler nozzle to prevent the car from being filled with the incorrect fuel (since you can't buy leaded anymore it seems a little pointless). So I went to the wreckers and got hold of a VN commodore filler nozzle and ratchet filler cap. The hardest part of doing this was drilling all the spot-welds so I could remove the filler section and the original filler. After that a quick bit of cutting and welding had the commodore filler fitting. 

filler.jpg (41001 bytes) 

One of the other things to do is tidy up the wiring as it is basically all sitting in a bunch under the back seat. After a lot of thinking and playing around I figure the safest and best place for the ECU was behind on of the rear side panels. I managed to route all the wiring, and make up a bracket to bolt the ECU to. Unfortunately I wasn't paying much attention when I painted the welds and brackets and painted some of the interior carpeting blue (idiot). That part will normally be under the rear seat back rest anyway.

ecu1.jpg (66268 bytes) ecu2.jpg (56871 bytes)
Left - ECU mounted on the bracket, Right - Side panel in place, you'll never know it's there. 

Things left to do before the mods are approved and road testing begins:

  • Make engine cover and brackets to cover the internal sections of the engine (behind the back seat area)

  • hook up the carbon canister (required for emissions purposes)

  • finish windscreen demister (required for mod approval)

  • make a small gearbox to adapt the Mazda speed sensor to the VW speedo cable.

But I couldn't help doing a little more performance testing around the yard. I wanted to figure out why it didn't seem to be making power at higher RPM. The exhaust was the easy thing to blame, but I seriously didn't think it was that bad. 

So I started checking timing and anything simple I could think of. It all looked ok. So then I thought I would check the VRIS (variable resonance intake system) butterfly's, they didn't seem to be working. I thought it might be something to do with them only working under load or when the car gets a speed signal, but that isn't supposed to be a problem with the KLZE. Eventually I found this;

vris_hose.jpg (74046 bytes)

During the engine install I had accidentally knocked the VRIS vacuum hose off. I connected it back up, and immediately the butterfly's started working. I took it for a test drive expecting it to make only a small difference. But it make a BIG difference.

Before it was like it was being suffocated at high RPM. It seemed to build in power until 4000rpm and then stay constant. Hence I blamed a restrictive exhaust.

Now it build to 4000rpm, and feels like it just keeps building all the way to the redline. It is much happier. I didn't think varying the intake length would make that much of a difference, but I am glad it did!


*WANTED* - Type 181 Thing Front End

Now I am going to go out on a limb and assume I have as many US readers as I think I do, and ask if anyone has a thing front end for sale. Unfortunately we didn't get the thing over here in Oz, so I have to try to track one down in the US.

Basically I have almost everything set-up how I want it on my Baja, except for the front end. The front end cannot keep up with the ground clearance and suspension travel of the rear end. The stock thing front-end is a few inches higher than the beetle front-end (basically factory raised spindles with bigger ball joints). So I want a thing front-end for more clearance and plusher suspension. Besides with the V6 being nearly finished, plush front suspension may be a wise idea.

To save on postage/shipping I would only want the necessary parts, which I understand are the lower arms and spindles. Do anyone have any of these available? I am looking for a decent price, everything in decent condition (except for the balljoints that I will probably replace), and someone that is friendly and will send me good pics and info before I send my money thousands of km's (or miles) away!

If you have one for sale, or think you can help me out by finding one and shipping it, email me at baja @ offroadvw.net


Sunday - 18 May

I managed to figure out a solution to my speedo problem, and that was to hook up the mazda speed sensor directly to the vw speedo cable. This got the speedo to work, but it was 40% out. So I just made a new sticker to go on the speedo, with the numbers in new places. The 40% meant my 180kph speedo (and limiter) is now 260kph.

I spent ages trying to carefully weld the interior engine cover mounting brackets, without setting the interior on fire. I cut out the alloy plate to fit over as the cover and temporary clamped it in place (need to pick up screws during the week). So the internal engine cover is almost finished.

Then I tried test fitting the back seat. Unfortunately it didn't fit. We made the rear frame hoop section 40mm too far forward. So I had to shorten the back seat. Now for those not family with a VW back seat, it is not easy to shorten. Unfortunately I forgot to take picture too. Basically it involved cutting the back seat in two (along the length), removing 50mm from the middle and welding it back together. With removing the covering and padding too of course. The back rest also require some frame adjustments. But it all fits now.

So it's slowly getting there...

180kph speedo to 260kph conversion, looks better without camera flash on it.

rearseat.jpg (24928 bytes)

Trial fitting of rear seat. I should really get it retrimmed one day...

Sunday - 25 May

As stated earlier (maybe december) I had the demister set-up under the rear seat. My plan was to use the original VW heater ducting to duct the air up the front. Anyway, I got around to doing it, and found the electric fan didn't have the power to push the air that far. So I had to relocate the demister to under the bonnet. The involved running copper piping to the front of the car. Luckily I know a friendly plumber that bend the pipe to the right shape for me to make my job a little easier. So after a bit more stuffing around, I now have my demister installed and working (it is a legal requirement as part of the modification).

I also finished sealing the rear hatch section, and generally finishing things off. The car is now ready to be approved. I was hoping to get it approved today, but haven't been able to get in contact with my modification engineer. Hopefully it will be done soon and then serious testing of the car will begin.

But preliminary testing (with a G-tech meter on the driveway, and the neighbours driveway ) has shown 0-100kph times at the moment are mid 6 seconds. This tells me two things, either the car is now a lot heavier than I thought it was, and/or the hot air intake and restrictive exhaust is holding the engine back. I am sure I will have fun finding out what the problem is. If the car weighs over 1000kg then I will be legally allowed to supercharge the engine, could be fun....