Saturday, March 26, 2011

99 EVC misc upgrades

Here are some of the misc. upgrades we've also done on the 99 EVC TDI conversion we finished up this past week:

 R side custom lift kit pad, 3/4".
 R side custom lift kit pad, 3/4".

 L side custom lift kit pads, one 3/4" one 1/2" (Al.) thick.
Front factory VW mudflaps.

Curtis 1 1/4' hitch and factory 16" spare tire holder.

Game changer day 1: 1999 TDI Eurovan 5-spd is on the road!!


It's been a long time coming and as evidenced herein a lot of work, but I can finally say we did it: The 99 EVC is on the road and with it North America's first '99 EVC T4 VR6 auto to 4-cyl AHU/PD150 hybrid TDI w/5-spd conversion, and wow! the results leave NOTHING to be desired.  This is the sweetest conversion we have ever done and is the new high bar for everything to come.  Keep your eyes peeled for our TDI converted Eurovans and Vanagons in your neighborhood!

Friday, March 25, 2011

99 Eurovan TDI conversion final FMIC plumbing

I've got much bigger things I want to discuss at the moment, but just to follow up from yesterday here is the final fitment and install of the FMIC plumbing.  Wow did this turn out awesome--not to sound glib but we even impressed ourselves!  The following photos follow the IC system from the turbo outlet counterclockwise (looking at the pics) around to the IC and then the plumbing that goes back up the intake manifold.

 Turbo outlet silicone plumbing to IC inlet

Pic of IC plumbing from POV of IC inlet looking up the aluminum IC pipe towards the far left blue elbow in the previous pic.

IC outlet POV up towards intake manifold.

IC outlet with our custom Intake Air Temperature sensor pipe front and center.

POV from intake manifold down to IAT sensor pipe, connected with silicone elbows and aluminum pipe.  This whole intercooler system is in 2" to allow for maximum air flow.  Note the big healthy PD150 intake manifold--these two features will make the performance folks happy ;-).
Plenty of clearance for dipstick access.

Strange angle but shows the lower mounting for the IC.  At the top it is attached to the radiator shroud via a length of angle iron that runs the whole length of the IC.  You could basically jack the van up from this point--just kidding!

Time to get serious:

 Our ritualized de-frocking of a formerly meagerly average ho-hum EVC and re-badging it formally into a one-of-a-kind torque and MPG monster.
To quote our dear Hannibal from A-Team fame: "I love it when a plan comes together!"
 As B.A. Baracus (Mr. T recall) emphatically states: "Me Too!"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

99 Eurovan TDI conversion almost road worthy

OK, back to the matter at hand.  Today we spent some time working on a replicatible intercooler plumbing set up and figured out the most elegant and least expensive way we can achieve this while sticking with high quality silicone fittings and aluminum couplers.  We also finalized fitment of our FMIC and did the final install:

 FMIC installed with wide opening for max air flow.
 Intercooler plumbing being roughed in.
Way too big silicone hose test mock-up to achieve the angle we need.   This will be replaced with the appropriate size hose.
Turbo charger outlet to intercooler plumbing.  Mocked up to check for clearance.

If all goes well tomorrow we will have the IC system all buttoned up and finalized and after we do a big pre-trip shake down we should be driving it out of the shop by the end of the day.

New arrival and diversion

Yesterday we had an unexpected visitor drop by the shop with his new TDI Vanagon.  The new owner picked it up in E. Canada for a song ($12k) and on his way back to his home in BC he swung by here for us to do a once over on his rig and do a few small repairs:

Three TDI vans holding court.

02G 5-spd T5/EV trans from Europe.  This was the trans used on later T5 models behind a 5-cyl TDI or a VR6.  It doesn't fit the 4-cyl TDIs we like to mess around with.

Packing still coming off but it's clear the linkage connections are quite different than the 02B trans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The elusive 4.23 T4 R&P

Well folks, the sun was surely shining down upon us today in TDI conversion land.  The long awaited dream T4 R&P is finally here in my hands from halfway around the world likely from some faraway VAG depot, considering how long it took to arrive:
This is the crown ring and pinion gear from an EWB or DUJ T4 02B transmission sold in Europe and likely other saner regions around the world behind the 5-cyl TDI.  This should be the silver bullet in terms of properly matching gearing on our TDI EV conversions.

PD Corps of Discovery

Yep, that's the revamped PD/AHU TDI hybrid engine purring away in the 99 EVC that I'm sure you've been eargerly awaiting an update on.  After taking a week off this project to research the issue of the valve/piston contact and clear our minds with some ice cold Orangina ;-), and to allow time for a new cyl head to be built up by AHR, I'm happy to report we got to the root of the problem resolved it six-ways to Sunday (well four anyway) and now have a perfectly running AHU/PD hybrid TDI engine humming away in a 99 Eurovan camper.  Can you say SWEETO??

In short the issue was a sort of mechanic's "perfect storm", a combination of several rather unlikely factors that in concert led to head #1's failure (this gets technical real quick, so skip to pics below if you don't want to spin your noodle):
  • Height of intake valve projection at rest (cam lobe completely disengaged) of head #1 was on the far end of the acceptable spectrum (~0.78mm), vs. the new head #2 which sits at nearly half that (~0.40mm and lower).  This is the distance that the intake valves project out from the plane of the cylinder head mating surface at fully seated position (in valve seat) and thereby would be the additional distance the int valve is projected when fully opened
  • Valve relief pocket depth of PD150 pistons and stock AHU pistons differ by .06mm, PDs being shallower (0.95mm vs 1.01mm on AHU pistons)
  • While the valve relief pockets in the crown of the PD150 pistons are the same width as the AHU (or ASV) pistons (37.32mm), the cross-sectional profile of the PD pistons is ever so slightly different, and most importantly the juncture of the two planes of this profile are at roughly a 45* angle on the PD pistons, whereas this juncture is basically a 90* angle on the AHU/ASV pistons. 
All of these factors led to a situation where we ran out of wiggle room in terms of valve clearance and had slight piston/valve contact, due to the fact that we opted for a 1-notch head gasket that didn't leave any buffer room for any of these aberrations.  In the end the solution was very simple, though expensive: New head gasket (3-notch), freshly rebuilt AHU cyl head, and misc. gaskets (int/exh manifold, etc.), and that ever dastardly commodity, time.

Here are some more details and pics of our process:

 Measuring intake valve projection of head #1.
 Measuring intake valve projection of head #2.
 Intake valve projection values of head #1 written in sharpie on the int valves (hard to see in this pic).

 Misc notes from our measurements: valve relief pocket depth of pistons comparison at top, and valve relief pocket diameter at the bottom.

For reference from A3 Bentley manual: 3-notch gasket gives us approx. .20-.30mm extra wiggle room which is more than enough.
 Heretofore meet cylinder head #2.
 Nice and shiny when freshly rebuilt.
 Block mating surface.
 Cyl. head #2 being assembled; injectors installed, glow plugs installed, coolant neck installed, etc.
 Exhaust manifold/turbo being installed.
 Assembled head ready to be installed.
 New 3-notch head gasket.
 Block surface cleaned/de-greased and new head gasket installed.
 Head #2 installed on to head studs, and then torqued to spec.
 Intake manifold installed and the rest of the connections being hooked up.
Filled with coolant and now it's back to its wonderous life!

The Orangina side project: 91 Syncro Multivan TDI conversion

This is one sweet Syncro Multivan from Canada with front and rear diff lockers. It limped in with a JX engine with a bum turbo and is going home with a little rocket we like to call a TDI engine. This one was a "budget" build and was done to meet the customer's requests:

90 Syncro Multivan w/JX 1.6 TD engine

Engine engine being dropped with trans in situ

Engine on ground, trans hanging on support

Modified AHU harness

Modified harness "roughed" in--yikes!!
Close-up of colorful yikes

Fuel filter installed and coolant system connected

Yikes abated, but not completed

TDI harness and Vanagon harness connected in jct box,  IC installed plumbing commenced

IC plumbing complete, eng presentable

Long view across eng to the R

Completed eng ready to start

R side eng just before start

Syncro drivetrain--trans, driveline and front diff

Stock JX Syncro rear brush guard--the first we've ever seen!

Rear eng view

Rear eng belt view without AC: 6PK1045 serp and 10x725mm V-belt

Modified diesel cluster to accomodate TDI tach signal, cruise control, eng light, etc

You know what that means

Initial voyage door R open
Initial voyage door L open