Friday, December 20, 2013

AHU eng rebuild for 90 Vanagon

This eng build is for a local neighbor who currently has a Tiico eng in his 90 Westy and is looking for a little better efficiency and power.  Overall fairly straightforward eng build using 0.50mm O/S ASV pistons, ARP head studs, new K03 turbo, rebuilt injection pump, etc.

AHU long block rebuild work sequence:
Block prepped and bolt holes chase with taps, I-shaft bearings R&R, oil squirting piston jets installed, crankshaft laid, main bearing radial clearance check, main bearing cap bolts (TTY) torqued to spec (48ft/lbs + 90*) install front crank flange and oil seal, torque crank bolt to 90nm + 90*, mate pistons to rods, install pistons in block, measure  rod bearing radial clearances checked, rod bearing cap bolts (TTY) torqued to spec (22ft/lbs + 90*), de-grease block deck, measure piston height projection, degrease cylinder head sealing surface, install head gasket locating dowels and centering pin, install head gasket, install cyl. head, install ARP head studs w/lubricant, torque to spec.

Block preparation:
All critical bolt holes are chased with a tap and eng block is thoroughly  cleaned with air.
Head bolt holes being chased.

Missing pic here is of the I-shaft bearings being installed.  

Crankshaft being laid.

Main bearings radial clearances being checked. 

New TTY main bearing cap bolts installed and torqued to spec (48 ft/lbs + 90*)

Rods and pistons being prepped for install.
Detail of ASV piston under belly showing oil cooling galleys. These are where the piston cooling oil squirters are directed cooling the piston crown.
#3 and #2 pistons installed.
Rod bearing radial clearances being measured for #3 and #2.
Rod bearing radial clearances being measured for #1 and #4.
Piston height projection being measured to determine head gasket thickness.  0.90mm so 2 notch it is.
The dazzling site of a shiny fresh rebuilt short block.
Rebuilt cylinder head being degreased and prepped for install.
ARP head studs being lubed up with special grease.

Head gasket installed, cylinder head mated to block and secured with ARP head studs, torqued to spec (125 ft/lbs).
Rear eng view.
Accessories being added to long block.

 Complete engine mated to rebuilt trans.
  Complete engine mated to rebuilt trans side view.
 Complete engine mated to rebuilt trans trans view.

Misc. project pics:

Modded Vanagon instrument cluster.

Pedal potentiometer installed with custom bracket.
Pedal potentiometer installed with custom bracket.

Wiring bliss..............

Monday, December 16, 2013

Vanagon Tesla Model S electric conversion

This is the blog of a friend and local electric vehicle guru Otmar.  He is working on a mind boggling project: converting his stretch Vanagon (formally a TDI) to a Tesla Model S electric drivetrain.  Lots of good holiday reading.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Summer 2013 update part 1

2000 EV TDI towing inop 95 EVC: 350 mile trip over one mtn. pass.

It's been a great summer with lots of fun projects and interesting people passing through, as well as ample time off for R&R with the fam.  Since May I've been selling some factory new 1.9l 1Y longblock engines that came available through one of my suppliers and back in July I installed one for a customer on an 83 stock diesel Vanagon:

Photo credit to Rachel Cogent

Photo credit to Rachel Cogent

Saturday, May 25, 2013

115ah aux. battery upgrade 2000 EV

I recently upgraded the aux battery system on my 2000 Weekender and am very pleased with the outcome.  For starters I got kinda lucky and happen to find this huge sealed AGM battery at the local battery shop while I was looking for a replacement deep cycle that would fit under my driver's seat.

The only new option they had size-wise was an Optima yellow or blue, but these are a measly 55-60ah and cost close to $200.  I got the 115ah battery for $75.  It was a used unit from an electric car that they had pulled when it reached 80% capacity.  Some quick napkin math informed me that that still puts me ahead of the game (theoretically 92ah) and at a fraction of the cost of an Optima.

 It took a little figuring to get that 13x9x7 battery to fit under the driver's seat.  In terms of fitment, I had to delete the rear plastic shroud at the rear of the seat box, cut off the batt hold down stud and space the front of the seat up 2mm on each side.  With any custom endeavor there are always tradeoffs and these seemed minor to get nearly double the batt capacity using the same space only more efficiently.
 Battery installed under driver's seat.
 Sits pretty much flush with the seat box.
Pic with seat removed to show placement/orientation.  Stock aux. battery relay still in place (L top corner of seat box), but soon to be replaced with a Sure Power 1315A smart solenoid (below).

picture courtesy of
 Ok, top L of the batt box is where the SurePower 1315 is installed.  I installed this with two rivets so the finish on the outside of the box is pleasantly stock looking and flush.  To connect to the main battery I left the stock 10ga wire in place and also ran a 4ga wire in parallel from the sure power solenoid to the main batt so that if/when I need to do an emergency boost to the main battery to perform an ad hoc jump start, it will be just a switch throw away.  This 4ga wire exists the int through the same grommet as the stock 10ga wire and it follows the same path under the vehicle up to the battery fuses where it is protected with a 125a strip fuse.

 Out with the stock 10ga ground wire (bottom brown wire), in with a VW customized 2ga ground wire.

For kicks I installed this little volt gauge which is on-demand (still need to wire in a switch for that, just connect the trigger wire for the pic).  And to the L is my aux. batt jump start switch, which manually connects the aux batt to the main batt for emergency start situations as described above.
 A few days earlier I had epoxied an LED indicator light to the sure power unit which lights up when the emergency start switch is activated.  This way I will know when it's on, if it got bumped accidentally or if my kids discovered it.  Also in view in this pic is the Anderson connector sitting on top of the batt.  This is my preferred method for hooking up my small 20w solar panel when camping for longer periods.  It's a safe and positive connection and way smarter IMO than a cigarette lighter.  I like having a small moveable panel like this as it is easy to move around and keep in the sun at the best angle all day to maximize charging potential.
 The stock EV weekender fuses are visible to the L, and the two new ones I added are installed right next to it (two red 10a fuses) using spare VW fuse holders that clipped right into the extra slot--factory fit n finish.  One is for the 1315 isolator and one is for the solar panel connection wire.
 Another view of the fuses and some of the wiring.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring projects Big Island Tristar Syncro Doka, The Big Green Syncro Machine, Joker JX Hightop, 400K mile club, etc.

Here are some collected bits from the past few months.  I do get to see and work on some of the coolest VWs out there......

Big Island Tristar fun:
The crown jewel of the VW Doka platform: Tristar 16" with 3-knob controls.  Now with TDI power.

Mise en scene for the task at hand.

K03/K04 hybrid turbo top L, and our once and snazzy custom L eng bracket cradling.

Some fun in the sun with my daughter and a wild but non-native Jackson's Chameleon. 


400k and life to go:
One more click to go!!!

First time I've ever crossed this boundary.....
Cause celeb'.  2000 Eurovan T4 Weekender with 1.9l TDI engine and 5-spd trans.  30-35 mpg.
Big Bad Green Machine:

Dimly lit to ensure its element of surprise

Emerging slowly......    Big bad and very green

Expedition ready, 2-knob Syncro with the biggest tires/lift I've yet to see/drive.

The view down low.

Where the magic happens under the hatch.

Angle R.

Angle L.