My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

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My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Wentzel » Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:57 am

I have thought about doing a build thread for my Beetle for a while and have been asked by a fellow forum member to do it.

It all started when I was looking for my first car back in 1992. At first I didn't know what car I wanted but ending up looking at VW's as my dad always had a Beetle. Now I knew I wanted a Beetle and was looking around locally for what was available, found a very nice sea green S at a garage and my dad made arrangements with the owner to buy it with a trade in. A few days later the car was sold and I saw it around town a few years later.

Then with more searching we found a very neglected 1600 SP with twin carbs from a private seller and ended up buying it.

There was a lot of rust bad mechanicals and the interior was in a bad state.

Photos attached are from back then and we didn't have digital cameras so it was scanned in and not great quality.
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Last edited by Wentzel on Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Wentzel » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:03 am

After a lot of problems with the SP carbs and a local garage messing them up completely we installed 34 ICT carbs and this was working pretty good. I also cut up an fan by removing the heater channels and shaping it like the 36hp shrouds. It still has all the fanes and oil cooler like the late model shrouds.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Wentzel » Mon Apr 10, 2017 10:50 am

After starting my first job I started hoarding engine parts and planning an upgrade to 1776 with proper dual carbs bigger valves etc.

Since I was not happy with our first paint job I got in contact a professional locally and when the time came completely stripped my Beetle taking it for a proper rebuild body wise.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by retrovan » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:21 am

Nice, keep the photo's coming.

There are a few 1600 S addicts here.

Herman
1952 Split Beetle 1835cc twin 34ICT's
1968 Fastback (2Lt.type4)twin 34ICT's
1972 Low Light Bay Panel Van (2Lt type 4)twin 34ICT's
1975 Fleetline Panel Van 1835cc twin 34ICT's

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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Wentzel » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:42 am

Some of the parts I was collecting was a set of Porsche Fuchs mags and some Porsche 944 Disk brakes. When assembling everything after the painting I installed these and a New dual circuit master cylinder and new brake lines.

Before I could complete my engine I bought a 1776 engine complete with everything from clutch to s/s exhaust with a 36dcd carb and dry sump setup. Shortly after this I bought a book "Turbo Mania" and after reading this decided I want to try it out. I bought a old type but brand new Rajay Turbo, some 36 DRLA Dellortos carbs and the first version of my Turbo was built.

The engine pictured below was still in tuning with the carbs and I did install the missing engine cooling plate above the exhaust after making it fit. There was still a lot to learn about engines and Turbo's from that point.
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Last edited by Wentzel on Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Wentzel » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:43 am

Thanks Herman, Unfortunately the S slipped through my fingers but I love my SP just as much.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Wentzel » Mon Apr 10, 2017 1:45 pm

In the early 2000's I switched to EFI (Can't remember the brand) and installed fuel injectors into the manifolds using the Dellortos as throttle bodies. a Few thousand km down the line the cam in the bought engine went flat on an exhaust valve. When I took the engine apart I found it was a 1.9 WBX crank with modified bearings biult into a beetle casing. Not knowing the details at the time I decided to build my engine from the spares I bought before and built a 1776 with counterweight crank new big valve heads and Engle TCS20 Turbo cam.

The engine ran good for some time but felt weak at low, revs I think the heads were to close to STD for the cam and after some damage to the oil pump drive due to the pump not engaging properly I changed the cam to a Scat C35 with Melling oil pump. Shortly after this I upgraded to a Gotech management system.

When towing it with an A-frame it unhooked from the car and went into the field running through barded wire luckily missing an Eskom power like pole but taking a dropper on the left front. I was able to drive it home afterwards but the damage was bad enough.

A few thousand R later it was repaired by the same person that did the paint work. Also the only person I trust to paint my Beetle but still a very bad time for me.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Tony Z » Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:19 pm

Thanks for the writeup Wentzel. I am sure there is still plenty to come, but its been a nice read already.

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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project.

Post by Wentzel » Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:55 am

I think it was in 2007 that I took it for a Dyno at Gotech to fine tune the EFI after installing it not long before. The installation was done by me and I also upgraded to 500cc fuel injectors from the previous 260cc units.

It was not very successful and we were unable to tune it properly due to detonation as soon as boost started. After doing this I decided to install an intercooler to try and solve the issue. (I did however find the problem when I upgraded my exhaust and found the wastegate stuck in the open position/ More later on the exhaust.)

Doing my research and asking advice Pierre (Bugger) advised me to use a Water cooled intercooler and assited with various ideas when I started planning and converting an Uno intercooler to watercooled. It used a water tank with electric water pump circulating water through a remote radiator intercooler and back to the tank. This works pretty good because of the lack of cold airflow and space in the engine compartment.
I wanted the beetle to look std and the deck lid to close without looking different. I tried and managed to fit it into the engine compartment, also installing a 30cm cube tank made out of s/s behind the rear seat (I made the tank big to increase the amount of water hoping it would run cooler). From here it gravity drains to an electric pump circulating it through an oil cooler mounted next to the gearbox and then intercooler. This was completed around 2008.

Thanks again for the assistance and advice Pierre!

Next I decided to redo the exhaust system properly because of bends and routing that I was not happy with. The first exhaust was built by a shop but this one I did myself and spot welded it together as I went along. My dad welds much better than me so when it was all together I asked him to finish up with proper welds.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Wentzel » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:53 pm

With the intercooler converted to water I found that it leaked a tiny amount of water into the intake. Nothing serious but I didn't want to take any chances of getting enough watyer into a cylinder to cause damage. I replaced the intercooler with a proper water intercooler and changed it to a "T" arragement like my previous intercooler.

One of my other hobbies is Electronics and after looking at a lot of EGT guages and prices I decided to build one myself using a PIC microcontroller and a Thermocouple with the needed electronics with a LCD display. It took me quite a while but I managed to get it working as I want and tested it with a simulator circuit comparing it to a Fluke's readings off the same simulator.

While EGT is good to know I needed more information to be able to tune the EFI and got hold of a Innovative wideband O2 sensor with data logging and extra inputs installing the sensor on the exhaust side of the turbo. This has helped me a lot in tuning the engine myself and it has been a great learning experience.

Then I decided to add exhaust wrap to increase the turbo efficiency and keep more heat away from the engine. At the same time I painted the exhaust to try and prevent rust underneath the wrap.

The old Rayjay turbo made a huge difference in performance but I had some oil drainage problems causing a little smoke and I hated that. It was time for an upgrade and I got a more modern turbo from a Subaru WRX and installed it with some changes to make it fit properly.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Wentzel » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:35 pm

After installing the new Turbo in 2011 I wanted to tune it properly to make the most of the changes and found that the old EFI system didn't want to tune as I wanted to. Looking at available systems and prices I decided to upgrade to a Spitronics system with wasted spark that looke user friendly and was available locally. I installed it myself and switched to a 36/1 crank trigger with coil pack for timing control which should be more accurate. The crank trigger wheel was made DIY and attached to the crank pulley with a magnetic pick-up.

In the previous pictures I was using a small (Power) pulley for some time and someone mentioned that it could cause the engine to run hotter because the fan was running slower. I can't remember why I installed it but think it was for space / clearance of pipes or oil pump. I bought a welded fan from Rui (Calooker) and installed it when changing to the larger pully in case it could come apart with more enthusiastic driving and more aggresive acceleration / decelleration.

A local mall had a dyno day and sound competition in 2012 and I took my new Turbo setup to see what changes there was. I was quite happy with the results and many onlookers did not want to believe that it was a Beetle engine and I had to show them.
The engine is a 1776 with Scat C35 cam big valve heads with smooth std sized ports on 1 bar boost. I was very happy with the results but it may be a bit optimistic because of the mobile dyno and corrections etc.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Wentzel » Wed Apr 12, 2017 9:39 am

The next thing I did was change from the Dellorto carbs used as throttle bodies to a single TB. When driving at a constant speed around 100km/h it would feel like it can not settle at a constant speed "surging" and feeling like it will pick up a bit of speed and then slow down again the whole time without changing the throttle position. The onlt possible cause I could find was that the four 36mm throttle plates was too much for the 1776 and losing resolution on the throttle control. At eh same time I replaced the Dellorto carbs with made up tubes as I did not want to re-design the whole intake.

In 2013 the clutch started slipping under load. When building the engine originally I used a std pressure plate with copper four puck clutch plate and it held up good even though it was a bit harsh. I replaced the pressure plate with a 1700lbs unit (EMPI unfortunately) and a kush lock clutch plate, these were balanced and installed and so far I had no problems with it.

With no major changes to the setup other than the 45mm (I think) TB I went to another local Dyno day at Venom and although the Dyno says I lost a few kW the parformance still feels the same. Maybe the in house proper dyno is more accurate or pessimistic.

In 2014 Bratjie and I was both playing with the Turbos and talking about ideas and experiences. This had me going over my fuel injector installation and sealing it better after finding small leaks around the injectors. I know the injector placement and direction on the manifolds are not ideal but I did it like that many years ago and it has worked good so far. I braced the injectors to each other on the two manifolds and installed new o-rings. Testing these I found no more leaks.

I had a bar running underneath the engine (Torque bar) for support and also a extra front gearbox mount limiting the upward movement of the gearbox nose. Talking to Bratjie we decided to build proper gearbox braces. Pierre also gave some input on these and what can be done to help the gearbox.
Bratjie and I then each built our own version of this bracing. I strenghened the rear gearbox mount by welding a big flat bar to it and made up adjustable bars that mounts with the shocks in the rear to assist the gearbox carrier and keep the rear as it should be. To support the bell housing I made a steel strap with poly-urethane pad to run around the gearbox and hold it down on to the bottom mount.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Blitzkrieg » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:28 pm

Love it! I think I have some pics of it that I took at Cars in the Park a few years ago.
If it's too low, you're too old :twisted:

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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Wentzel » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:30 pm

I decided to check on the engine internals in 2014 and wanted to install 1.25:1 ratio rocker arms I bought a while back. These couldn't go on bacause of clearance issues between the push rods and push-rod tubes. Armand (IMPI) makes some very nice push rod tubes that can be installed with the heads on and bought a set from him. The engine checked out good but the rings has been in the engine from the engine that I bought years ago and I replaced them checking and adjusting clearances for Turbo use on each ring. I also checked all valves, seats and replaced the exhaust valves because of little marks on the stems. Rather safe that sorry if a valve breaks it will be a lot of damage. While the engine was open I polished the heads and ports to help prevent detonation and hopefully flow a bit better.

Pushing boost up even more ever time (It is an addiction :twisted: ) I was having some breather issues causing oil leaks and minor oil from behind the pulley even with an oil seal installed behind it. After some reading and discussion with Tony Z I made a s/s breather box that my dad helped weld again. It has some internal baffles and a pipe going into the exhaust acting to "extract" pressure from the breather caused by airflow sucking on it. Testing it I got a little vacuum at full throttle where the pressure build up in the case should be at its worse.

After the incident where the A-frame came off the car I always saw that the front was not as it should be but not being a body work pro I left it alone. Early 2016 I took the nose apart and tried to do something to the nose to improve the left hand side and although it was a scary thing to do there is improvement and the nose looks much better, even the lid closes and releases better.

Next up was installing a gearbox I bought 2 years ago but never had the guts to install. The old gearbox is still in good condition with everything working but I treated it with respect and it handled the power without problem for years. My thinking was that I should replace it with something a bit stronger before something breaks leaving you stranded. The new gearbox is a bit stronger than std with some upgrades to help handle more power. All the brakes, bearings and seals on the rear were also cleaned/replaced and transplanted to the new gearbox.
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Re: My Never Ending Beetle project. (Lots of Pics)

Post by Wentzel » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:53 am

In August 2016 as I was getting ready to go an event I cleaned the Beetle and used it around town. Unfortunately I had a run-in with a new unpainted speed bump and my oil cooler underneath the left hand side got damaged/torn.

I was unable to get hold of one locally and ordered one to install. At the same time it had to be changed out of the way to prevent any future problems. Moving the oil cooler a bit back and making a new ducting to route air through it and also changing some oil lines. It should be much better now and I think airflow will be sufficient.

We attend a lot of events and travel 100 - 150km one way to these. Usually we travel together and I follow my dad in his 1958 Beetle so not driving fast. I did however find that the oil temps can climb to 110-120degrees at 110+km/h which is too much to my liking. Looking for information on this and checking my cooling I read that with the more heat generated more cooling air is needed and the packed engine bay probably won't help for airflow. Although I don't like the deck lid open I did a mod to open it a bit but not as much as the spacers, Thanks Tony Z for the info on this.
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