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Updated on Apr 04, 2013
Here I'm starting with a less-than-bone-stock 1983 VW rabbit, (over the years, it has been down-graded by monkey wiring fixes) and building it up to something fast and fun to drive.
CLICK Page 1: Engine removal, stripping, turbo and accessory fitment. Page 2: Transmission work, wiring work, steering rack work. Page 3: Mounts, brakes, belt/pullies, manifold spacer, throttle. Page 4: Spacer, test fit, new stuff, injector cleaning, starter. Page 5: EGT, final assembly, turbo flange, install engine, downpipe construction Page 6: Intercooler/ engine & trans coolers/ radiator/ chargepipe/ intake install. Page 7: Mostly mindless blathering, fuel system install, engine management & rad fan wiring, fwd exhaust section. Page 8: First start up. IT'S ALIVE!!!! Rear brakes and suspension. Page 9: Rear brakes, gas tank strap repair, structural rust repair. Page 10: FIRST DRIVE!!
>Page 11: Misc underhood items, engine grounding, rework trans cooler oil return, wastegate seizure and repair AGAIN! Exhaust system completion Day one:
Page 12: Mount instrument cluster and gauges, hang fuse panel & wiring, quickie alignment, hit the track!! Remove Engine!
This car had some serious monkey wiring by the previous owner(s), part of which was the rad fan had wires with spade connectors that you had to open the hood and connect directly to the battery terminals to operate the fan. Pretty goddamn annoying. In the few months it had sat in the driveway, I'd forgotten this little jewel of information. I left it idling on the street for 10 mins while doing a driveway fleet shuffle and was greeted by a large puddle of coolant on the road when I finally went out to pull it in. D'oh. Helllllooooo, Mother Nature! Parked it, and shut it down. I tried starting it immediately to see if she'd go (more underhood wire sparking involved in this process) but no. Crank, no fire. Anyway, after removing the hood and jacking the car's front end up, I drained all the remaining half litre of coolant from the system. Quick and easy compared to the usual struggle to contain all the gushing coolant. I'm considering overheating the shit out of any future engines before dropping their coolant!
Next, out came the driveshafts. Not terribly difficult. Unlike a manual trans rabbit, however, I had to disconnect the left hand strut from it's steering knuckle to get that shaft out. I found a good use for a pair of blown nitrile gloves. Gotta love nitrile gloves! If you like playing in the pink, it's imperative to keep the digits clean. I started pulling stuff out of the engine bay. The CIS fuel injection (wonderful system!), the cooling system components, disconnecting wiring etc. Nice rad repair...
One tube has been cut, and folded back. Didn't leak... much...
Time spent disconnecting...
and more time...
Connect! ----------------------------------------------------------------- Up! Wiggle!! ---------------------------------------------------------------- Annnd, OUT!
And now for my last trick, ladies and gentlemen, splitting off the transmission and torque converter.
I hadn't read the manual, and this is the first auto trans I've monkied with. The end result: ATF all over the floor. The manual later told me that the torque converter comes off seperately from the transmission. Oops.
Day 2: Prepare the "new" engine. Ok, it's not new. It's a 1992 Passat Syncro G60 engine. (for you yanks, syncro is a Canada-only AWD model featuring the Corrado supercharged engine) I'm sure most of you are here 'cuz you like Vdubs, and are quite familiar with the PG engine. For those who ain't, it's a 2-valve/cyl, 1780cc supercharged engine, good for about 160 hp and probably the same in torque. Unfortunately, the achilles' heel of this supercharged engine is... the supercharger. Great when they're working great, but they excel in making a mess when they give up the ghost. This particular engine, while running rather well, made no boost whatsoever. The reason why would reveal itself later in Day 2.
Continuing on, I removed the all important engine mounts, brackets and timing covers from the old coolant-spewer. I've got a set of HD engine mounts on order from Techtonics tuning. I made a sabatical to Techtonics in Oregon a few years ago, and came back with a trunkload of parts. Those guys are absolutely fantastic. Truly, a gem in the VW tuning world. Notice the hole in the side of the block. You can see the exterior of cylinder 1 in the cooling jacket. This, as far as I know, is peculiar to the PG engine only. There's a metal plate and O-ring which covers this. With this plate back in place, the rabbit right side engine mount bolts on top, sharing the same fasteners. This makes it a little more difficult to install the engine in the car, as clearance side-to-side is reduced. Furthermore, if you're converting a PG engine to rabbit accessories, (no p/s, no a/c, no serpentine belt driven alternator) the rabbit's alternator pivot mount also picks up on the forward two mount fasteners. I have all these pieces at a machine shop for some dimensional adjustment. More later.
Then, I stuck the PG on a stand and attacked the supercharger system, power steering and A/C, none of which have any home in the rabbit.
It went relatively smoothly, save for a couple of asshole bolts. One on the A/C compressor bracket, and one on a blockoff plate. Both ended up looking a lot like this. Asshole bolt, meet Impact Chisel. Impact chisel, meet Asshole bolt. Actually, the A/C bolt put up a really good fight even still. The winner, in the end, is clear.
Ever seen a "monkey stack"? It seems that there's no avoiding monkey business. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting pelted by banana skins and shit from a crowd of hooting apes up in the treetops. Here's a good example of a monkey stack. This jimmy-rigged getup was holding the alternator in place on the PG engine. I shouldn't bitch, you can only buy bolts during a tropospheric temperature inversion on the moon. (which very rarely happens) Nobody can blame this monkey for installing this particular poo-covered banana peel on his engine. Sometimes I wish I had a big monkey cannon. I'd round up all the wrench-waving, coverall-clad, chest-beating monkeys, load them into the cannon, and fire them up onto the moon. They could 'fix' the left over lunar landing equipment and make circus rides out of it. Hey! Just imagine how far a well-slung banana peel would fly on the moon! They'd have a blast. Thank God all that stuff would burn up while re-entering our atmosphere. Frikkin' monkeys!! Anyway, after removing the supercharger muffler, it became immediately apparent why it wasn't making any boost.
There was a thick layer of charger poo jammed into every nook and cranny of the muffler assembly. Nasty mess!
The eccentric scroll's edge seals were chewed up and spat out. Don't know what the hell i'm talking about? For a decent explanation of how a G60 supercharger works, go here:
G60 charger description
After shattering the world's shot-put distance record with the blown charger, I trooped onward. The water/oil heat exchanger and related piping came off. I'll be installing a thermostatic sandwich plate for an air/oil cooler. More on that later. I replaced the water pump-engine block bolts with the rabbit style type, as there wasn't anything that would need to bolt onto the pump. I also pulled the crank sprocket and changed the front main oil seal which was starting to weep.
Now for some interesting stuff!! The VW diesel turbo exhaust manifold will bolt up to the gas cylinder head. Unfortunately, the turbo interferes with the intake manifold, or the other way around, I guess. The solution? Flip the exhaust manifold. Enter body grinder. I had to grind some material off both the int. and exh. manifolds, and even one bolt head on each to make them intimate. Clearance is tighter than an 80 lb computer hacker convict's grip on a bar of soap! I could have used longer studs and exh. manifold spacers, but this whole setup will change again once I blow up this engine. (and I will) I have a fully built, low compression 1.9L with an ABA head behind the ropes, waiting for the trusty PG to tag out. After about an hour of flitting back and forth between the engine and the grinding bench, the manifold, with turbo installed finally rested snugly under the intake manifold.
Imagine a school girl jumping up and down giggling like a speed addict moments before going into full body aneurism... Ok, not quite like that. But I was rather pleased with the day's progress. That pretty well wrapped up Day Two. I've got a bunch of parts on order from various places which will facilitate an interesting Day Three.
Turbo look a little small? I adhere to a slightly different school of thought than most turbo tinkerers, it seems. The PG engine makes stock boost around 8 psi. Stage 4 is around 15 psi. This turbo (KKK K14) will easily make 15 psi and due to it's smaller size, will spool up very quickly. Time wasted waiting for the turbine to accelerate reflects in sluggish performance. When it's time to go beyond 18 psi, I'll uprade to a K24.
Day 3. Only a partial day today, but still some progress was made. I started off by chucking the rusty old oilpan and installing a somewhat more interesting one. About 12 years ago, I was rooting around in a wrecking yard, and spotted a dude taking a picture of a scirocco. I got chatting with him, about his car, and found out that it had an aluminum oil pan. At that precise moment, the wind picked up, the temperature dropped 10 degrees and it started pissing rain. I guess it was luck balancing itself out. So I lay on my back shivering in a quickly deepening puddle removing this oilpan from that old scirocco. It was a Schrick finned and baffled unit. Very nice, but too deep. Very little road clearance. I ran it on an '84 jetta I had for a while, and after changing to a rabbit, I traded the aluminum pan for a new Empi steel oil pan featuring trapdoor baffles and a windage tray. That pan served time on 4 different engines, then was lent to the local winningest circle track racer for a year before finding it's way back to me. It then served on a 1.6L diesel that ran 35 psi and nitrous. Quite a ride. On surfaces that you could actually get traction, it gave you the feeling a moonshot monkey must get just as he's exiting the cannon barrel. Anyway, it's just a little history on this particular pan. I hate that it's chrome, but I've never had the oil pressure warning buzzer or light come on in a corner while running it. And there's been plenty of opportunity. Trust me. I have a pic of me autocrossing on slicks carving a pylon on two wheels. These pans work, plain and simple. Notice the TD style oil return fitting grafted on.
This piece is the early 90's version of oil control. It's a combination windage tray and oil control baffle that clips onto the oil pump pickup. Not bad...
With the pan installed, I righted the engine and yanked off the oil filter flange. I had to figure out how I was going to have the rabbit lower oil pressure switch, the turbodiesel (TD from now on) turbo oil supply fitting and an oil temperature sensor all together. This all turned out to take a little more thinking than I originally figured it would. The thermostatic oil cooler adapter is a little thinner than the VW coolant/oil heat exchanger, so I removed the threaded pipe, cut 19mm out of it's unthreaded center section, and welded it back together. This seemed to do the trick, although next time, I think it'd be better to buy the correct sized thread die, cut more threads into the lower section of the pipe, and remove the excess original threads from the end. The next issue was where to locate the sensors. The pressure switch had a spot on the flange close to the block, and now the TD turbo supply fitting was existing where the PG engine's temp sensor was located. The VW engineers decided to put the supply fitting there for a reason, so that had to stay, and same with the pressure switch. After some minutes spent humming and hawing, I opened up the thermostat adapter and found that it's end cap was an excellent place for the temp sensor. This way, it's in the cooler bypass passage while the oil's not warm enough to flow through the cooler, and when the thermostat moves, it's then exposed to the oil coming from the oil cooler. So regardless of thermostat operation, I'll always have a reading on oil temperature going into the engine.
The whole meal deal as it sits at the end of Day 3. Notice the TD oil filter. It fits, and it's bigger. More filtering capacity, more oil capacity... Minor, perhaps. But if it's not a disadvantage, what is it?
I'm going to need an A2 golf/jetta throttle body and a blowoff valve. If anyone has one or both of either of these and wants to donate/sell cheap, let me know! The other thing missing is brake rotors. I'm having a hard time finding a good price on slotted 9.4" vented rotors. I don't want crossdrilled. Slotted only. Anyone know of a good place to get them?
In a couple nights, I'll start on some transmission freshening, followed the next day by removal of the PG engine harness from the donor car. The rabbit's engine harness will be yanked, and if I'm really slick, I'll put the PG harness in the wabbit while the momentum is hot. Things are coming along nicely! I hope to be nearing completion by the end of May. I guess this is one good thing about the girlfriend being on vacation on the other side of the planet. Loads of garage time! =D Even so, balls bluer than the deepest ocean is a tough price to pay. Poor me.
Day 4: Disappointingly slim progress. During my trek all over hell's half acre for mother's, grandmothers's and the other grandmother's day festivities, my TD passat, which apparently wasn't satisfied with a new turbo, new injection pump and new bottom end last fall, decided to puke it's waterpump. Fortunately, I was able to finish the driving with enough coolant to prevent meltdown. I guess I shouldn't complain. It would have been really easy to put a new pump on while assembling this engine. It took 2.5hrs just to get at the waterpump. I had a new one in stock, so that was handy. While everything was apart, I noticed the lower rad hose had been chafing against the fan shroud, and was almost cut through. A call to my parts guy turned up one about an hour away. He brought it in, and I paid a pal Paul (say that 5 times fast) $20 to go pick it up. Well, turns out it wasn't the right hose. Insert lengthly, not-so-G-rated string of oaths fit to raise the devil himself HERE. -----> "_______________!!!!" The sky clouds over, women and children screaming, and, after refilling my completely empty lungs, tape up the old hose and order a new one from the dealer. At 280,000km, I suppose the pump doesn't owe me any money. But I'm still bitter that it sucked up so much time that could have much more satisfactorily been spent on interesting things, like turbo rabbits. Everyone, on the count of three, say in your most sarcastic voice "Way to F'ing go, PISSAT!! " Anyway There were a few hours left to do some rabbit stuff. I started off by installing the water temp gauge sensor. On somewhat of a whim, I put it in the water pump housing. I'll put another sensor in the coolant 'out' flange on the side of the cylinder head, and run a switch to choose between the two sensors. That way, I'll have both system temp, and an idea of how well the rad is working. Maybe that's a little fanatical, but I guess that's me.
Next I removed the rabbit's metal coolant pipe which extends from the waterpump up to the heater core hose, and ties in with the expansion bottle. The PG pipe has an extra outlet and is too long. My parts guy couldn't find a replacement, even though I bought one from his place a few years ago for $17. The dealer wanted a stupid amount, so out came the sand blaster... and then the brazing gear. Rust never sleeps. before After Thanks to my pal Paul for the paintjob. For the last kick and they day's can, I took a factory 1.6L TD oil supply line and reworked it (read as, "bent the shit out of it") to fit the new turbo position. It turned out rather well, if I may say so myself. I need to make a couple stand-offs to clamp it in place. You can see the aluminum coolant flange I stole from the wabbit engine. I don't like the plastic flanges of the newer engines. They always warp and leak. Junk. This flange also has an appropriate hole for the second coolant temp sensor as mentioned above.
I finished off by piddling about with different setups for an oil pressure gauge. If the sensor has the right thread, then I have a very tidy install plan. If not, I'll have to conjur something up using brass fittings. I'll find out tonight when I pick up the gauge. The engine mounts will be done as well by the time I'm finished work tonight. I also picked up the oil thermostat's O-ring from the volvo dealership today. Suprisingly, the parts guy (early 30's) was interested in my project. As I turned to leave, I said I'd bring it by when I'm done so he could have a look. "Sure! Bring it by so I can smoke you!" wtf? WTF!? Turns out he's driving a Volvo T5 turbo. Well, it seems somebody doesn't really have a strong concept of what power to weight ratio is. I'll take particularly great pleasure in making this fellow eat his words with a healthy dose of crow fried rice on top.
Day 5. I had to do a little work on a VR6 passat wagon today, and while I was out getting the part for it, I stopped by one of my favourite junkyards. Total goldmine! They had no less than 5 turbodiesel Mercedes, including a newer 6 cylinder (vs older 5 cyl) model. I found an old cabriolet and grabbed the oil pressure sender off it. I also finally found a good price on slotted rotors. They'll be in next week. Back in the garage, with the passat done and gone I started project work again. I set up an apparatus to test the accuracy of this oil pressure sender, and another one I had lying around. Turns out this 'new' one was completely bang-on accurate, and my old trusty unit was 5 psi off on readings over 30psi. Here it is installed. Pretty impressive, the quality of 22 year old VDO parts! Next it was time for the oil return line. I temporarily bolted the transmission back on, with the passenger side driveshaft in place. The oil return pipe to which the flex hose bolts to was way too long. I cut a 2.5" section out of it and welded it back together. Then I heated and tightened the bend radius of the solid end section of the flex tube. It took some pondering to figure out where to go next. The end result wasn't very pretty, a crossbred bastard son of a 1.9L TD return line and a 1.6L TD return line. I also had to slightly re-clock the bearing cartridge on the turbo. Definitely the ugliest thing I've done in a long time. It does accomplish two things, however: Directs return oil to the pan, and adheres to my make-it-from-crap-lying-around-the-garage policy. Besides which, once this engine scatters it's parts all over the road, the good engine waiting on the sidelines has a crossflow cylinder head. This means all the turbo stuff will bolt on exactly as it's intended to, and an unmodified oil return line may be used. Well, I might have to lengthen it slightly to make up for the slightly taller ABA engine block height. But nothing like the extent to which this current piece has been raped. A very distinct example of "form follows function". One of my 'prime directives', for you trekkies out there. In any case, that ended the evening's festivities. Tomorrow I'll start digging into the transmission. I noticed a non-quattro Audi 5000 turbo at the wreckers today. That uses the same transmission, but with 5 clutch discs instead of only 3. Chuck the Audi bellhousing/diff and bolt on the wabbit unit, then you have an extra beefy trans with oil cooler ports, begging to be fed big power. I won't jinx myself by saying something like "with a little luck, the engine mounts will arrive from Techtonics tomorrow, and then I'll be able to wrap up that task." Oops.
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SWEET RIDE 5STARS. CK MY 500 THANKS
what kind engine electric system did u go with chipped ecu or standalone?
Chipped ECU in this case. Works well enough. Plenty more to be had with higher fuel pressure and larger injectors.
hey i noticed your rabbit i like it alot i live in us i have a 93 slc corrado vr6 turbo is there any way u could help me find a 92 passat g60 awd so i could buy it and bring over the border my names dustin my number is 518-361-7250 thanks
HI, my diesel converted, lifted passat syncro is for sale if that's of any interest. Same torque as a G60, but almost double the fuel economy
great build man
nice build man!!!
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