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Old March 22nd 2012, 05:38
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owdlvr owdlvr is offline
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Location: Canada - West Coast
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A few weeks ago I was doing my usual bi-weekly parts run to AVR Import Specialties, hanging out and chatting with my friend Rob (the 'R' in AVR). We were going over the list of items left on the car, and prepping the order schedule based on how quickly I thought I would get there. Rob's often watching out for sales from his suppliers, or trying to stay a step ahead of me on the parts list. Often I'll text him to say "can you add X" to my shelf, only to get "was already there" back. As we went through the list, Rob asked me a question I had been dreading for weeks. "What are you going to run for an exhaust?"

I have a bad habit of always leaving the exhaust system to the end, and usually as an afterthought. I cut my career teeth working for Vibrant Performance, an exhaust manufacturer based out of Toronto. It's just ingrained in me to not worry about the exhaust and make something at end of a project. Well, Vibrant was over seven years ago for me...and they don't make any Beetle exhausts! Rob and I started chatting about all the options, and price points, and then he asked me if I had seen the Vintage Speed systems. AVR just started carrying the line, and so far they've been stoked on everything they've brought in. There wasn't an exhaust in stock, but he piqued my interest for sure. Then Rob offered me the contact information for Mr. Lee, and suggested I show him the project. Well...less then 18 hours later I had a reply from Mr. Lee, and in three days I had two boxes arrive on my doorstep.



Now, I could tell you as an enthusiast that in person they are incredible. But as a person who used to evaluate systems for a living, these systems are phenominal. The workmanship is so far and beyond anything else I've seen for a VW, it's incredible. Hand TIG welded as well. Take a look at the detail photos:




As I'm planning on using heater boxes, the system ships with these flanges, that you can either weld to the heater boxes or use with factory clamps.


Now, you may have missed the fact that I said two boxes arrived to my doorstep. Vintage Speed and I discussed my current engine setup, and the engine setup I plan on running after my dry-sump pump is ready. The Sport Muffler was the obvious choice for the current setup, but would my new build benefit from using the Superflow muffler? Normally it's reserved for larger displacements then mine, but I'll be running high-revs for long sustained periods. "Well," he said, "why don't you try both and decide which works better for your setup." And so, sitting in my living room distracting me from work all day were two incredible exhaust systems!

But to get the motor in, I've got to take care of some more details. First up was the breather system. I spent a bit of time on the phone with Darren from KROC cylinder heads, and decided that I'm going to try venting the case, cylinder head 1/2 and not cylinder head 3/4. I had 3/4 vented previously, but I'm shortening my lines significantly and worry about filling the breather with oil. Instead of a breather I'm going to go with a drain from the head back down to the sump. Darren was great for sorting out what and how to do it now, so that I wouldn't need to change as much when the dry-sump system arrives. Crankcase breather, now tee'd for 1 valve cover and the case. I'll redo the fittings with my final engine, this is just what I had lying around. The lower hose is terminated just inside the fender area, all it does is allow me to drain the tank if needed.


Fuel regulator is in with more Russell fittings and hose. I'm going to leave the outlet hose as factory cloth until the new carbs are installed, at which time I'll move everything over to Russell fittings and lines.


I think I'm getting addicted to them actually ;-) Here's the -3AN line I'm using for the remote oil pressure sender.


Fast forward a whole bunch of time later, and we have an engine installed with an exhaust system. The engine took a few hours, and the exhaust system took less then 20min. It's such a rare experience with this build to have something that just bolted right up the first time! I am also pleased to report that our home-made clutch cable bits and the shortest factory clutch cable seem to have given me a working clutch. Well, the feel at the pedal is "right", so hopefully that equates to working when I get to drive it.




Its far from being ready to start though. I need to run oil lines, breather lines, make a 3/4 head drain, swap out the oil filter mount and THEN I'll be ready to start it. Closer, but still a long way to go!

I did finally solve a question tonight that I haven't been able to answer since I first discovered it. My e-brake cables were much too long for the car, as are the heater control cables. So much so that I can't hook up either without modifications. When I told Rob, he was surprised as they haven't had any issues on the shop restorations...which use the exact same parts! Sitting in the car, as well, there is something "odd" and "wrong" with the way it feels. I thought maybe I was using the passenger seat and it was setup on the mounts differently, but that wasn't it. Then today, it finally dawned on me. I think 1973 is the year they moved the e-brake handle and assorted bits further back in the car? I started with a '73 pan, but as I welded '71 style pans into it I always just tell Rob the car is 100% '71. Whoops.

I have to say, the two best modifications I've done to the car so far is the removable rear apron, and the "weber doors". The combination of both made the engine install so easy. You can reach everything!! I will never take a bug to paint without doing both of these...well, unless it's a factory resto. Then, and only then, will I drop the weber doors. The removable apron though, that's a given!

-Dave
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