Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Red Coupe - More Power Pt.1

Following up on the last episode, you'll know that I got my hands on a motor to replace old faithful. Before we get to that, I'll share the last afternoon I spent on this car with ya. I still had my winter setup installed, higher ride height, steelies with iPike w409s, sandblasted front is lip and rock chips a plenty. I still have rock chips ahoy, but I learned something very important; when you have perch type coils, they don't do such a great job shaking off the winter harshness and tend to seize quite easily. I spent 4 hours busting knuckles in the driveway finding this out, as all my older VW (non-perch) experiences never put me in this predicament. Long story short, my "temporary" height solution is growing on me; the car looks good with the new daily wheels and 205/50-15 BFG G-Force Sport tires (review coming this summer). I considered several wheel options and since I'm a sucker for building slick oem+ setups, factory 15x7" weaves went from a backup choice to the choice. This smaller wheel diameter and light weight has been an absolute joy to drive around in compared to what I had been running, and my suspension seems to be much happier than with the stock rolling diameter. My highway MPGs have gone up by about 2 (to ~30.5). The car is noticeably quicker too, which excites me for what's next.

Back on topic then. My motor is old (blah blah) and I have found a clean low-mileage rebuilt replacement. This past Friday was going to be the three day install weekend marathon, but things don't always work out as planned. Regardless, my buddy Tim (Rootbeer Tuning) who I've appointed the tech lead on this effort, and myself, have made it a point to make lemonade. The first thing needed to be done is pull the motor and detaching connectors, wiring and mounts was a major affair. Thankfully my buddy Ian was in town for Easter weekend and lent his hands towards the extraction. While this was being sorted out I cleaned every bracket that came from the car in the parts cleaner, scuffed up the new motor and painted the block in Eastwood Cast Iron color high temp engine paint. The exhaust manifolds were bush coated with Por-15 manifold paint. I didn't expect this to be perfect, but I did want things to be spruced up quite a bit over the sludge slathered heart that was in there already. It turned out great for my needs. While I was at it, I replaced the oil filter.

As we went along I made sure to take plenty of images to remember where everything went for the reinstall that will be taking place in a couple days. I wish I had a designated picture taker because shooting with my cell phone sucked; I would've used the good camera but I didn't want my grubby hands on that thing. When we got just about where we needed to be for removal after a ton a PITA clips (thanks Ian) and harness maneuvering, I began to see additional small things I wanted to fix before things went back together. This is the first engine swap that I've been completely invested in and didn't realize how easily the initial list of things to do grows beyond your initial estimates. I'll get into details on that next time around, but for the time being the first stage of this process was accomplished. Motor out.

There were some logistics that we didn't think of that threatened to throw a monkey wrench into the ease of this install. For the night though, it was time for some much needed sleep.

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