Thursday, September 23, 2010

Looking back

I dont think its humanly possible to blow the dust off of this blog. I think it would require the force of a 747's engines at full blast in order to be able to see a glint of a surface of what this blog is.

It is true, a lot has happened since I have once posted here. We can attribute this to troubled relationships, moving to a new state, lack of money, lack of interest/drive/motivation. Or we could just do it the old school way, cut to the chase, down to the brass tax, quick down and dirty like I like it, and say that well... It was life that did this.

I am currently in Savannah Georgia studying design management and I am currently projectless, in the car sense any way. Im "investing in my future", and learning a good deal about whats out there. Alabama in this sense is a small place, it is country. Im currently sitting in Gallery, swigging some coffee and contemplating life, what I have to do, and how much I cant wait for November.

It is true, I miss my car, that fact is totally undeniable. I miss everything associated with it and its driving me crazy. The Savannah car scene is dry from where I am sitting. It is a wasteland. This is not to say that I havent met some car people here but, there is no collective, no underground society to assimilate into, no one to joke and poke fun at their car and ask wheres the VTAK fluid? Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe I need this. Maybe I need this time to think about what it is that I want to get done once November comes.

Gone are the days of having an apartment with an engine stand and engine sitting 3 feet from my bed. Those days are gone and sadly missed to a certain extent. While I will say that living in a garage is not my ultimate goal, I miss having space to zone out, to tinker, to cleanse dirty rusty parts, and to make them assemble into an orchestra that is an engine, with me conducting the symphony... and subsequently blowing it up. It is there that I am able to extract from life my purest joy, the shear euphoric ecstasy that comes from hearing a motor purr. That level of satisfaction that I can no longer have at this point in time has well, all but gone, but it is a sacrifice to getting that job, to obtain that ability in the future to be able to do that more.

So what happened to the outrageously famed "outlaw ghia"?
Well lets begin with a sad story.
My world was absolutely rocked when I was not accepted to Auburn for graduate school of Industrial Design. Combine that fact with a very troubled romantic life, being hired for a great job then having it taken away before I even started, then being let go by the university from me walking the stage then having to pack your life up in 2 days to leave a place you have lived for 5 years...

Thats a lot to swallow in the span of 3 months. It makes me happy though. I have made it through one of the toughest times of my life, and here I am sitting in a little coffee shop in Savannah. I am happy in the fact that I am here, carless I might say, but happy in my place in life right now. Ive never really given me credit for making it through this, but there were quite some times when well, I didnt think I would get here.
Ohhh yeah, the car right?

Well as you may recall, it got his which sucked.
So I got the front end repainted...

And it looked pretty good, I was just happy to have my car back. Then I took it on a trip to Hellen GA, which that was disastrous to a T. The car went from 4 to 3 cylinders up there. Then from 3-2 cylinders on the way back. 2 cylinders is not fun in Atlanta traffic.

So where is it now?
Its hovering on cinder blocks awaiting my return.
I have plans that I will write about later.
Im thinking of a course adjustment, away from a certain turbo setup to something else... we will see what happens.
From Soupy Savannah

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Set backs and baby steps

So its been quite some time since I last updated. Life does not make a whole lot of time for updates any more but thats how it goes.

2 weeks ago my car was backed into by an alumni couple at which they hit the one part on my car that is one of the worst areas to hit... the nose. Long story shot I left the scene, saw the damage, came back and found the car, talked to them, got a police report file, and I now have a $700 check for the repairs. The car is now being worked on by Charles Overton of Tallapoosa Georgia as he does immaculate work. We shall see what comes out of it but yeah, not really happy about it... at least I found them and they owned up to it. They were drunk at the time and the guy was nice about it.

I removed the bumper and its now sitting like this in my apartment

In the past week I also got my manifold welded up for the correct turbo size and here it is... welds are not perfect nor JDM tite but it will work

here you can see the waste gate actually clears the tubing so its cool. The manifold you see here will soon be taking a trip to the sand blaster most likely this friday and then will be treated with a ceramic spray paint coating and then wrapped with exhaust header latter on after I cure it. This ceramic coating will protect the manifold from getting rusty (you can see the rust here) and will also prevent the rust from damaging structural integrity. The most important fact is that it will retain the EGTs that I need to spool this turbo. Combine this with the idea of exhaust wrap and it should retain heat VERY well which means better boost :)
The hot side of the turbo will also be getting the same treatment as well. Im getting VERY excited about this build as I get closer. Need a couple of more things which I will make a list a later date when time allows.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to school and the likes

Ok, so school is back in session which is pretty cool to a certain extent. This means Auburn has again sprang back to life and it seems to be back to normal. My schedule is hectic but Im getting used to it, life feels hectic when you live for a good while without a list of things to do and what not and now its back in swing.

It has been a rough weekend and transition back to student, pair that with boyfriend status and its gotten rocky at best, but things have planed out now and smoother water looks to be ahead.

Sarah Jayne helped me the other night, we finished around 2am

she is installing the gas tank right now. It went pretty smoothly and it was nice to have a friend along for the ride. We forgot to put the steering damper back on so we had to re-install the gas tank again and she is tightening down the bolts. I then forgot to rehook the fuel line up, so gas went every where.

I decided to wait till the next day to fix the gas line so it took all of 2 min, then I installed the Berg shifter...

The review is thus far.
The installation was straight forward for the most part, two 13mm bolts and bam the old one is out and the new one is in. The installation of this thing is ridiculously easy, so easy I could barely call it an installation. But there's a catch...

Alignment of this shifter quite frankly made me want to toss it. The alignment is not something that is exactly a step by step process, more of a loosen the 13mm bolts, wiggle it around, and tighten. Quite frankly if I had the spirit of Hitler and Ferry Porsche in the car with me, I dont think I could align it 100%. So I went to visit Sarah Jayne to test it out. The alignment was soo bad, 1st was unobtainable for the first 25 min of its use. I almost had a wreck over it as I was pulling out, shifted out of first, then it decided "Nope, not going back in", then by the time I got it back in I started pulling out only to find that a Neon was zooming past me honking its horn. After out visit we had to make a dash to a bellydancing performance and on the way back, the shifter litteraly pulled a Gandalf the Gray "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" into first gear. We sat at a light for like a good 45 seconds, so long that the car behinde (which was nice enough to not lay on the horn for all of those 45 seconds) decided to pull around. So I just took the shifter and got it in 2nd and started off in 2nd, and passed the car behind me.

So as to how it shifts... its the only reason I put up with the alignment shifter. When this shifter works, the heavens part, and the VW gods bellow and thunder "THATS MAH BOY!". The shifters throw is not to short. The throw is exactly how I wanted it. I know I could drive it with a shorter throw, but this is just right. I got the alignment pretty good and every 1 in 2 shifts makes it into first now cleanly, and if it doesnt make it on the first, then I shift it in to second then back to first and it gets in gear. This shifter is tricky though and you can get lost in what gear you are in as I have done it. The transition from gear to gear though are smooth though but no slop, and it has this satifying click/clunk that lets you know its in place. I ususually like light and clickly shifters, this one is not so light, but thats because the build quality of the shaft and the amount of material that went in to making this thing. It is not as heavy as the mini shifter though but is not feather light, it has weight, but its not fat.

Overall, I am very pleased with the purchase. It is the right height and is a blast to drive with.

I need to fix the sway bar yet again, its a pain, but I have some parts that will not make it sag again.

Friday, August 14, 2009


So its been a while, lots of good things been happening.  I have a girlfriend now.

Her name is Sarah Jayne
She also happens to drive a Mini Cooper S which I have fallen for.
She is very very cute and likes cars and is also in Industrial Design which is how we met.
We have been dating a month now and I am the happiest Ive been in a long time.
This could be one of the many reasons why I have not posted in quite a while.
We went on a picnic which was quite amazing.
I also went to my first show in quite some time.

Thats my car next to the rat rods from Bham, they are some of the first car friends I have ever made.

I also got this thing in :) 

Gene Berg shifter.
Its the 60% reduction in throw and feels amazing (not installed yet, hopefully tonight)
This is the best of the best of the best of shifters for VWs and is one of my most expensive parts to add to the car.  
There is a saying among the VW crowd which is "Cry once, buy the Berg."
Gene Berg is quite frankly one of the best after market parts and performance part manufactures in the world.  Their parts are not cheap but are very well made.  As it sits, this will be the only USDM part on the car other than a bolt that will be on the car.

The car is currently down right now due to my steering box.  I already have one on hand from my friend Jacob Simpson, he drives the cool bus.  I have become very good friends with him and will miss him this semester as he is now working for Disney at an internship.  He is a stand up guy and I would consider him to be one of the top 5 people that I have met at Auburn as just a cool stand up guy.

The steering box needs to be replaced and hopefully I can get that done very very soon.  Next week is my hometown show at Tannehill. 
Out for now, more to come later. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Plan

For as long as I can remember, this car of mine has been made fun of for one fact. Its slow as hell. I cant fault that though, the car was never really intended for speed, granted the Ghia was designed to look like a sports car, but have the reliability and economy of the Beetle. My car came stock with 60hp, which is probably more like 53 hp. Factor in the loss due to the tranny and we are looking at 40 hp at the wheel. Its pretty anemic but there are ways to get around that. Most people like to build engines, the design is straight forward and the block can be bored out so new pistons can be slipped in. The most comon is a 1915 engine which gives good torque and can last around 50-75k miles before a rebuild is needed. Fuel management will need to be upgraded though. Then guys stroke them and can build up to a 2332cc engine. This thing is huge for a VW engine and make around 150-170hp but its not cheap. A good well built 2332 engine that will last 50k miles cost around 3k low side and 5k.

Then there is the type 4 engine. This came on some late model buses and and late model vws. Type 4 engines are stronger, but there is a lot of modification that has to be done oil cooling wise and transmission wise. Type 4 engines are very expensive to certain degrees and the best builder is name Jake Raby. He has done some stuff with these engines that is amazing. I have seen a type 4 engine run to 9 grand and dig into concrete with its tires. They are awesome engines but they are just to expensive to be justified at this point.

And then there are turbos. Turbos for these engines are pretty straight forward. There is a company called CB performance which sells complete kits for around 3.5k. Looking back my car would be turboed by now if I had gone this route. But I decided to go the hard way and build a kit myself. It is more expensive to do it the way Im doing it, but I wanted to put some trick parts on myself, something that was tasteful and combined the parts that I wanted, not just what CB sells. The only real benefit to the cb system is that it has fuel injection. Id like to add that at a later point in time.

I decided to go turbo because I like the idea of being able to switch parts over to another engine externally and still get mounds of hp out of it. So lets get to the parts.

So Im not going to be able to tell about everything right about now, but these are prelimiary parts, some for boost control and what not and or monitoring. They are important as I can see what my engine is going to be doing when under boost. Going to have to make this quick. I wish I had more time but I dont want to keep my friend up.

For boost pressure/control I decided to go with an HKS blow off valve. It is some what ricer I know, but I liked the design. Ive heard mixed reviews but I like the design, look, feel, fit and finish of the part. These get bad rap because of the atmosphere blow off which wistles quite loudly. I am going to recirculate it though so I get better response and not as much boost lag.

For monitoring the boost Ive decided to go with a set of gauges that are akin to the setup of Randalls car. Hes got a setup very similar to what Im going with. I liked his choice of gauges and placement and also which gauges he chose to use. I mirrored that to a certain extent. As you can see there is a boost gauge, oil temp and pressure gauge out of a 911sc , and an EGT gauge.

For direct boost controll I really liked greddys profec spec B unit. Next to it you can see an AEM Uego AFR unit. I was going to include these with the gauges above, but I am going to relocate them to the glove box so they can be hidden. These parts are a little more pricey so I wanted to hide them, plus their design is not really in with the others.

Next is a Borla muffler, I liked their build quality but this one is a little questionable, got it from Summit racing, and it isnt stamped like it should be, but it will suffice. All stainless steel an a 3in diameter. It should be quite loud :) but I am hoping for a good deep resonating tone.

Lastly this is the hotside of the turbo. Im going to sandblast it and then ceramic coat it. Should be pretty potent with the coating and a good turbo blanket.

Ps, Randall convinced me on the 60% throw, and Im going for it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Shifty Situation

Ok, so I got bit the other day, more like yesterday but whatever. I currently have a shifter in the car naturally, but it isnt really upgraded, more just a stock shifter with a bit of a chrome cross drilled sleeve and a nice shift knob.

snagged this off any ways, I have the formula vee shifter (upper right hand corner) which come to think of it, FV sold little nick knack things for vws to "dress them up" a bit. I see no performance out of this shifter and when I bought it at the time I wanted to see if it would. It doesnt :( . I dont know why this has irked me so much recently, I mean it worked at the time yeah, but now it just doesnt seem to fit what I want. This means that I can use it for my very one day though which is cool.

So... what to replace it with?

I was thinking Hurst, but Hursts are very much Mopar and non VW, I mean they did come out in the 60's and 70's but yeah, way more Mopar then Dub. And then I remembered Ive always liked and wanted a Gene Berg Shifter. These things are hella famous and very well made apparently. People swear by these guys and Im pretty sure put Berg on the map. So the question is, do I want a 40% or a 60% reduction in gear travel. Little undecided. I have found a standard 11" with a small curve 60% reduction throw for $225 shipped, then a 40% reduction that is 9.5" tall. I want to get the 60% as I can get 40% reduc out of a stock shifter with a $5 part. Decisions decisions.

some pictures of the two proposed options, but Im really thinking the 60% reduction.


the 60%, notice the ball and shaft protrudes a bit more and requires a special plate that isnt shown that lifts the assembly up a bit giving the larger throw.

Im really feeling the 60% reduction though :(

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Slipping away

Cant justify the title other than me listening to the song by Sum 41, but it fits at this point in time. Ive done a lot and its been a while sense posting so this should be a good long update.

Any way, on to the car.

The car officially runs now. Carburetors in general are a tricky thing, its not like you can plug up a lap top and viola, its tuned. These things take time and dedication nowadays. They are tuned by small pieces of brass which are hard to find and cost some money to be honest. As it sits right now, I find that my carbs are pretty set in. I am noticing a bit of a lean spot on initial acceleration but I can adjust that by going from a .40 pump jet to a .45 and that should make the car run perfectly.

Any way lets get to the pics.

Thats a big difference mind you. To the left is the single Solex 34-PICT3. This was the stock carb for my car and it worked ok I guess. I fried an engine over this single setup.

It was very fuel efficient, so much to the point that it really restricted the fuel delivery to the engine. And this is how it looked originally on the engine.

I didnt like the way it looked much less the way it performed. It was great for stock use but I needed something more. Enter the larger carb on the right, there are two of these arranged in a double barrel setup which means there are 4 barrels on this engine now. Now we are talking :).
These allow for each cylinder to be tuned to what they need which is important. Here they are on the engine now.

There is a considerably noticeable difference on the car now, this thing has a little more get up and go. I finally nailed down the tuning after a very long time and I like the way they run the car. Much more throttle response but if you drive it normally just like it used to be it acts much in the same manner. Notice the Alternator. I replaced the generator and Im also pleased with this upgrade, it feels more inline with the car and its goals and will be able to power some of the electronic goodies that will help it with a future mod... turbo :)

I am planning to turbo the car some time within this life time, but Im taking a long time to do it. The car is going to sport some nice turbo parts and controls. I will get to those at another date and post.

As for now I have decided to go away from the WRX turbo I picked up as it is not in the limits for my engine and will not boost as I want it to. Whats the point of a turbo if it only spools for 800 RPM? So I have decided to go with a Garrett T25 turbo.

This is the .8x A/R one but I have one that is a .49 A/R which will spool up a lot sooner, Im hoping at 2-2.5K RPMs. I dont want to get to much into the setup now, but that will come as I acquire more and more parts for this project. Im aiming for 150-160 crank horses which this car would be a BLAST to drive but we shall see.

Ive also been restoring/cleaning the hell out the visors.

The off white is clean of course and the brown one is one that has yet to receive treatment. That is a solid hour of cleaning via Windex and then re moisturizing with Vaseline which I have fallen in love with its ability to cheaply lubricate leathers, plastics, and vinyls. Infact I used it to treat my dash which looks amazing and factory fresh now. Keep in mind this shot was in the dark so its not a glamor shot
but you get the general idea.

I then spent some time one the wheel and got it looking a little bit better. First is how I originally got it and then after massaging.

So yeah, thats about it for now.