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MK1 VR6 Engine swap

wpid-IMG_20131119_132559.jpgHappy Tuesday everyone. Today I wanted to update you guys on the progress of the Cabby. There are a ton of you that have been following the progress of this build from day one. I really appreciate that. It has been a long journey over the last year and a half. If you are a newer reader, you travel back and check out the cabby before we started the build.

Where the project is now.
The Cabby is sitting in the garage as I type this. The car ran and drove great. That is until the last time I drove it. I picked the car up from work on Thanksgiving. She made it almost all the way home. I hit the throttle, and started to smell raw fuel. I pulled over to find that the car was pouring fuel on the ground. It looks like a fuel line swelled and started leaking. It should be a simple repair. I am hoping to get that fixed this weekend.

What is left to finish?
The Vr6 is in and runs really well. It is always stressful rebuilding an engine, then having it sit for 6 months before starting it. So I am happy she runs. There are still a ton of things that need to be finished.

  • Interior
    The interior is coming along, just a little slow. If you remember, I picked up a 1984 Cabby a few months ago. I used most that that interior in the chalk cabby. I still have to install the rear seats, door panels, and small parts of the dash. It is about a days worth of work.
  • Exterior
    I don’t even know where to start. For now, I think she is going to stay the way she is. What do you guys think? Post up any ideas in the comments.
  • Electrical
    So far, everything seems to work well. I have some lights to hook up. I also plan to control the headlights with relays. This will help to brighten up the lights. I have also considered making the inner lights on the front driving lights instead of high beams.
  • Engine
    While the engine runs great, there is still a number of things that need to be finished. Some of the wiring harness needs to be trimmed up and wrapped. I also need to have an Oxygen sensor port welded in the exhaust. I also want to change the radiator. I used a 1991 Passat 16v rad. I think I am going to swap it for a VR6 rad. It seems like it will fit better. I am sure there are other things that need to be cleaned up. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

MK1 VR6 Engine swap

Plans for the future
To be honest, I have not given a ton of thought here. For me, I need to focus on the next hurdle. It is easy to get overwhelmed looking too far ahead. Once the car is back together, that is where things get interesting. Reliability is my main focus. I want to be able to take a 4 hour road trip and not worry about getting there. I hope by spring it will get there. There are also a few random things I am thinking about. What do you guys think about this?

  • Having the car wrapped. It would be cheaper and easier than paint
  • Removing the top and a Roadster style ride
  • Add some support to stiffen the car up

Well, that is pretty much where she sits. I am also working on a guide to some of the things I did with the engine swap, that might be a little different. If you are working on this swap, let me know. I will be  more than happy to help if I can.

SHOUT OUTS!
There have been several folks that have helped me during this build. They have supplied parts, advice, and other cool stuff. This is in no particular order
EURO-WISE ~ VR6 install kit, exhaust, front brace(just ordered that) Everyone there is awesome!
German Auto Parts ~  maintenance parts, I HIGHLY recommend these guys. Tel Justin I sent ya
Black Forest Ind. ~ JOM coil overs.
Anything Auto ~ K&N air filter
42 Draft Design ~ Intake
T-Hoff ~ They did the machine work on the engine
Nothing Leaves Stock

One more thing. I shared this on the Facebook page, but I wanted to post it here. Most of you know that I am a big craft beer fan. There is a new brewery that is opening up in Rural NC. They started a Kickstarter to get the final funding to open the doors. Haw Rives Ales Kickstarter. If you can help them out, that would be awesome. If you do, let me know. I got something extra for you. Just contact me.

 

MK! VR6 Volkswagen engine swap DIY

MK! VR6 Volkswagen engine swap DIY

Hi folks! I hope that you all had a great weekend. I had a productive Sunday working on the Cabby. I will  tell you all about it. First I have a couple of things to let you guys know.

Dubs For A Cause.
I have mentioned it before, but the show is coming up quick. If you plan to make the show PLEASE let me know. I always like meeting you guys. Plus this show is for charity. It does not get much better.

Travel last week
I spent a bunch of time in the car last week. Tuesday my boss and I drove to Charlotte, NC. We went to a job fair at NASCAR Technical Institute. I spent the day chatting with about 100 future technicians. It was a very cool/strange/fun event. I also snuck down to Euro-Wise, but more on that in a minute. My wife and I also took a mini vacation to Asheville,NC. We were only there for a day, but we had a blast as always.

Travel this week
This week I will also be doing some traveling. I will be in training for the better part of the week. It is about a 5 hour drive there, and a 7 hour drive back. Thank you DC traffic. The class is some type of diagnostic training. I don’t have much more info than that. I will do a post about it and fill y’all in on the details.

A little help
With my traveling this week, I have a chance to record a few podcasts. I just need some help from you guys. What do you want us to talk about? I have a few ideas, but I need some help. Post your ideas in the comments below. Here is what I am thinking

  • Winter Car preps. It may be a little late for some of you, but this is very important.
  • Mechanic training. Since I will be going to training, this makes sense
  • Tools. I am thinking specifically about tool costs, what techs need to start with, and some differences between pro level tools and average consumer tools

Alright, we have all that wrapped up, let’s talk Luv A Dub!

MK! VR6 Volkswagen engine swap DIYWhile the VR6 base engine has been installed in the Cabby for a while, I just installed all the “accessories”. That means I installed the following:

  • upper intake manifold
  • air intake with sensor and K&N filter
  • Radiator
  • Header
  • Exhaust
  • A full exhaust, thanks to boys at Euro-Wise!

I also finally hooked up all the coolant lines, and electrical connectors. We are very close to having a running car.

MK! VR6 Volkswagen engine swap DIYHere is another engine bay shot. Once I have the car properly running, I will clean up the wiring that is just throw in the bay. I want to make sure everything runs properly before I do the final fit of the wires. Plus the painted part of the engine cover is at work. 😉

MK! VR6 Volkswagen engine swap DIYMuch like the engine, the interior has come along way. But also has a little ways to go. I still have to swap the lower dash cover, all the door cards, the center console, and the rear seats. Plus add all the little things like ashtray and vents in the dash.

Well that is where we are at with the Cabby. It has been a long long road. I am hoping to have the exhaust part welded today. If that is the case, I should have her running today. Don’t worry, I will shoot a ton of video of her first start. I hope it all goes well.

MK1 Vr6 Rabbit Cabriolet

MK1 Vr6 Rabbit CabrioletIt is time for a Cabby update. For those of you that may be new to the blog, let me do a little recap about this Cabby. In April 2012 my dealer purchased a 1988 VW Cabriolet. The purchased it and donated it for a local charity event. They painted it with chalk paint, and put stickers all over the interior. After the event, I bought the car. I really wish I could have got the car before the event, but it was for charity.

Once I purchased it, my goal was to get everything back to stock. I started with the interior. Hours of laboring trying to get all the stickers off. It didn’t take long to realize most of those stickers were not coming off. I turned my focus to rust treatment, and sound dampening. At first I had no intention of doing an engine swap. The plan was to get the 1.8 running better and just rock that. Well, I stumbled across a 1998 Jetta with a VR6. The bad part is the engine had a blown head gasket. I stripped the car, sold much of the parts, and send it to the scrap yard. The poor Jetta had a rough life. I actually picked up another VR6 with a manual trans. I rebuilt that engine, and now the MK1 Cabby has a 6 cylinder engine in it.

Where we are now
The cabby is slowly coming back together. Last weekend I spent some time putting the interior back together. I also attempted to crank the engine. It turns out that the wire on the starter was broken. I was able to fix that. So right now I am waiting on the following:

  • Header
    Actually I need a whole exhaust. This is the thing that is preventing me from starting the car.
  • Radiator
    I found mounts that will work great for the radiator. I need to clean them up and paint them. I need the header done before I mount up the radiator
  • Finish wiring
    I need to get the car running to be sure all the wiring is right. Once that is confirmed I can cut the rest of the wiring from the Cabby.
  • Fluids
    I do need to fill all the fluids, oil, coolant, power steering.
  • Suspension
    This is not something I need to start and drive the car. But I will be modifying the suspension.
  • Wheels and Tire
    I was hoping that I could use the factory wheels and tires. The tires are very dry rotted, and not safe. If I have to buy tires, I am getting wheels too. Man wheels are expensive. :/
  • Interior
    This is just a matter of getting everything installed and cleaned. I will be redoing a lot of the interior parts, but I want this car on the road. 🙂

There are some odds and ends that I am sure I need to wrap up. I will cross those bridges when I get there. Here is a quick video so you can see the Luv A Dub process.

I am pretty pleased with the progress. I hope you all have enjoyed watching the build. If you have any questions please feel free to post them in the comments. Also, if you are doing a build similar share your progress. If you want to see more, check out the pictures on the Facebook page.

mk1 VR6 Cabriolet VR6
mk1 VR6 Cabriolet VR6

Engine bay before paint

Last week I polled the audience about painting the engine bay of the Cabby to prep it for the VR6. A simple factory Tornado Red! I was able to get a slight discount on some professionally mixed paint and the hardener. Let me just say, automotive paint is freaking expensive.

When I bought my air compressor a few years ago, it came with a paint gun. Like a lot of things that come in a set, I am sure this is the cheapest paint gun ever. I am painting the engine bay so it does not have to be professional grade, but I still wanted it to look nice. I got my paint and gun, and was ready to paint, or so I thought. I was missing the fitting to hook the gun to the air hose. A quick trip to Auto Zone, and I was back in business.

I mixed the paint and chemical hardener, and started to paint. I quickly realized that getting the paintspray pattern right is an art. The painting went something like this:

mk1 VR6 Cabriolet VR6

The result of poor spraying skills

  • Spray paint, globs of paint come out of the gun.
  • Adjust the pressure on the compressor
  • Spray paint, slightly less globs, but still too much paint
  • Adjust the pressure on the compressor
  • Spray paint, almost right
  • Adjust the pressure on the compressor
  • Spray paint, FINALLY I got it right
  • Run out of paint. :/

By the time I got the spray right, and the hang of the paint sweep, I ran out of paint. I am pretty sure that paint should have been more than enough to cover the engine bay. The engine bay was now splotchy with red, and missing paint in some spots. Like I had said, it’s the engine bay. It does not need to look perfect, but this looked awful.

After some mulling around(aka being mad about the poor job I did) I decided to head back to the auto parts store and pick up some rattle can spray paint. I was able to even out almost all the paint with the rattle cans. Unlike using an air powered paint gun, I can spray paint pretty well. Overall it came out pretty good. I have a few paint drips that need to be sanded and cleaned up. The red rattle can color is not an exact factory match, but it’s close.

So what is the next step? Well I should be bolting the engine in this weekend. After the engine is bolted in, it’s baby steps to get the car running. I was thinking that it may be fun to do a little contest. The sweet prize will be bragging rights. Post in the comments the date you think will be the first start up of the engine. My guess is August 16th. What do you think?

You can also go back and check out all of the progress we have made over the last year at Luv-A-Dub. Or click the tab at the top of the page.

mk1 VR6 Cabriolet VR6

After the respray

Volkswagen Cabriolet VR6 engine

Hi folks, I hope that you all had a great weekend. I was doing some digging though the site and realized that I have not updated the Luv-A-Dub project in almost 2 months. I see the car and the parts everyday, so it is always on my mind. I hate that I haven’t updated in so long.

Volkswagen Cabriolet Luv A Dub MK1

This is what the Cabby looked like "pre art"

A quick recap
For those of you that are new to the site, I am redoing a 1988 Volkswagen Cabriolet. I almost want to call it restoring, but it sounds weird to me. I picked up the car from my work. They donated it to a local charity. The charity did an “art” project to the car. As you can see it is a unique looking car.

I started with the interior, trying to strip the decorations on it. All while trying to plan out the build. I needed a break from the interior work. Shockingly, hours of peeling stickers can drive you insane. I decided to focus on the power plant.

I wanted to do a 1.8t swap initially. That would be a 4cyl turbo charged 1988 Cabriolet, pretty sweet in my mind. I stumbled into a 1998 Jetta with a VR6 for really cheap. $460 for the entire car. Unfortunately, the guy I bought it from didn’t know the difference between a manual transmission, and an automatic transmission. I was able to find a better engine and a manual transmission for $400. Now I have plenty of extra parts for the engine. I like having back ups.

Where we are now
As of right now, the car is basically in storage. I have not done much of anything with the car. My main focus has been on the engine. Last week I sent the cylinder head off the the machine shop. It got a good cleaning, the valve seals, and guides replaced, and the mating surface refinished. All that cost me $350. They did a really good job on it.

VR6 timing chain kit

I also just placed a big order from GermanAutoParts.com. They had some of the best pricing I could find. Here is a list of the parts that I just bought.

  • Head gasket kit.
    This will be all the gaskets I need to put the cylinder head back on the engine. I opted for the better metal head gasket instead of the fiber(read paper) one that came on the car.
  • Head bolt set
    The bolts that hold the cylinder head to the block are torque to yield. That means they stretch when you torque them. Due to that, they must be replaced every time.
  • Engine block gasket set
    This is all the gaskets for the lower part of the engine. The oil pan, oil cooler, oil filter housing and rear main seal.
  • Timing chain kit
    The VR6 is a chain, not belt, driven engine. Not replacing the timing chains is about the dumbest thing that I could have done. This is really a no brainer
  • Thermostat housing kit
    This is the most common failing point of the VR6. I got the entire kit. There will be no coolant leaks on this VR

Don’t worry if you are not sure what some of these parts are. I will be doing posts and videos about all of them. I also ordered some brake parts and some suspension bushings. I am not going to lie, I am super excited about getting these parts.

Where we go from here
The engine rebuild will go fast. At some point this fall/winter, I will make the trip out to Charlotte, NC and visit the guys at Eurowise. They are the company that makes the kit to install the VR6 into the Cabby. Plus I can hit some great NC craft breweries.

We still have a lot of work left to do. The install process will take some time for sure. Also making the wiring harness will be a project in itself. I am really looking forward to that part.

If you have any questions about the car, the progress or the parts I am using, please ask. I have nothing to hide with this build. I want you all to see how much time, effort and money it takes to build a car like this. Also, if you have any parts you want to donate, I am totally open to that 😀

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