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  #571  
Old April 4th 2018, 01:29
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I've put a 1000km on the Rally Bug, 800 of which was today. Had to stop for a few items...

Got to the ferry terminal, and realized I didn't have any brake lights. Whoops, guess I forgot to check a rather important item before leaving the shop! A quick run through all the terminals and the lights were back in business.

Next 'feature' I discovered, was after a good hour or two of driving, the car developed an issue where it appeared as though the throttle cable was sticking. Instead of going back to idle, it would rev 500rpm too high. After being unable to find the issue in Hope, I chalked it up to something I'd need to look into and continued on to Kamloops. Coming into my exit in Kamloops I realized I didn't have any engine braking, and may even have some maintenance throttle going into the exit ramp. Uh-oh, this could get interesting. YUP, 1/4 throttle stuck on, can't even kick the pedal back to get neutral. And that's when it dawned on me...

The vibrations while the car was running, caused the throttle-stop bolt to back out. There's two bolts, one for full-throttle, and one for neutral. The neutral one backed out, tipping the pedal forward. A quick stop over to a hobby shop in Kamloops, and I had a 5mm nut to lock it down with. While I was down there, I figured I'd red-loctite the full throttle stop as well.

No photos, my phone bit the biscuit about 2hrs after Kamloops. Just the android boot screen over, and over, and over again. Sigh.

-Dave
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  #572  
Old April 9th 2018, 17:36
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Almost 3,000km of "shakedown" later, and I have another list of items to do to the car. Some of these are large items, based on the drive, and others are little things that I've been meaning to take care of for a long time, but you never get around to it. Moving my dash cam, for instance, from the centre of the windshield to an area that the wipers actually clear would be a smart idea. So...tear the car down yet again.


One of the big issues identified on the drive is that I'm still too rear-brake biased. I was able to work most of it out, but the balance bar is at the point of binding, so I needed to swap out the master sizing. Front brakes got a larger master, and we'll see how that goes.


Partway through the drive, the tuning on the fuel injection started getting quite challenging, and I suspected an exhaust leak. A few hundred kilometers later, and I knew I had an exhaust leak. Just wish I had stopped to realize it was blowing right onto the rear apron. The paint was already hurting from similar incidents, but I totally demo'd it this time.


Stopped in Squamish to get a buddy of mine to slice off some 6061 for use as wheel spacers...


Started modifying the pallet on my rotary table so that I can finish the wheel spacers. Spent the rest of the evening filtering the aluminum chips out of my bourbon with my teeth...but hey, could be worse. I wasn't cutting/drilling with coolant :P


Hacking away at the list...should be back on the road in another couple of nights for more testing.

-Dave
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  #573  
Old April 16th 2018, 02:25
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I've worked through the critical items on the list, and have just a couple of regular maintenance items left on the list. There is, of course, the usual collection of "would be nice" items we always seem to end up with. Items which can't be completed before the Classic Car Adventures' Hagerty Spring Thaw get moved to the long-term list.

One of the critical items super beetle fans are all familiar with is the front end shimmy. The Rally Bug has a few light ones now and then, but usually related to the fact that I use balancing beads instead of traditional stick on weights. Occasionally the beads will "bunch up" if you hit a pothole, or launch off a line, and you simply lift the throttle and roll back on to smooth it out. So when I left home for the 3000km shakedown, the light occasional shimmy didn't bother me. I was running a second set of wheels/tires that may not have the correct amount of beads in them either. Post shakedown I was expecting to have to do the idler bushing (only original part left, and only part that doesn't get swapped on a schedule). But nope...alignment shop didn't tighten the inner tie-rod locking collar enough. :-| Yikes. By the time I got home it was loose enough I'm concerned the threads could be compromised. Almost new tie-rod in the bin, and one of my new ones off the shelf is now in the car.


Oddly enough, it seems I have a problem with one of my brand-new Silver Project upper strut mounts. While working the suspension to pull the tie rod assembly out of the car, and check everything over, I found the passenger spring is binding. Further inspection and it seems the whole pillow bearing binds when a load is applied to the upper strut bushing. If you pop the strut out of the lower ball joint, it all spins smoothly. Pop the lower ball joint in (so the strut is under some load) and it binds. The bearing doesn't want to turn with steering movement. I must have pulled it in and out of the car six times, checking, disassembling, reassembling with different washer combinations and so on. Can't find the actual problem, unless it's the pillow bearing. I milled up a little test adapter and tried to bench-load it a little, and I *think* it gets stiffer, so the bearing needs to be swapped out. These came from Poland, and have the markings on the bearing machined off and replaced with "Silver Project", so I'll have to see if I can get them to tell me what they are.

It would seem under full load (with the weight of the car on the bearing, it works correctly. I’ll need to do some short road tests to figure out if the stock bearings are going back in again until I get this solved. On the plus side, the shock boots I made up at the beginning of the winter tell the full story. As the bearing binds, the boot “twists”, and holds the twist…so diagnosis should be easy.


I definitely should have paid more attention to the exhaust leak. It was expelling hot exhaust gases directly at the rear apron. The photo is what’s left of the fibreglass radiant heat protector…it’s crispy! Unfortunately it has completely trashed the rear apron paint, so I’ll be looking to get that repainted at some point this summer. It was cracked and a little bubbled previously, but now it’s destroyed. The section where it was hitting has some bondo in it, and that’s all cracked and popped off the apron. POR-15 the damaged inside paint (which was completely gone) and two new layers of fibreglass sheet. Replacing the exhaust with one I haven’t beat to a pulp should probably be added to the list!


I need a way to store the laptop I use for fuel injection, and have it easily accessible. Toss in the fact that I’ve got a co-driver at the next event, and well the front seat isn’t going to work. Hmm…need some aluminium C-Channel. But I have this old pocket door channel…and a milling machine…


A quick few minutes, and I’ve got a laptop holding box. Added some high impact foam on the inside of the C-Channels, and some felt to the outside for the “OEM” look. It mounts below the passenger seat, you can just see the laptop (in a neoprene sleeve) sticking out.




Started working on the footplate panel. Ran out of weekend.
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  #574  
Old April 20th 2018, 00:38
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Finished off the list, with the exception of the foot plate, and took the Rally Bug out for a shakedown. Rally computer works, steering shimmy is gone, the various electrical upgrades are all functioning and it seems that the fuel injection is working as anticipated, now that the exhaust leak is sorted.



After this image was taken, I washed and waxed it...and then took the '58 out for a spin. T'was a good day!

-Dave
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  #575  
Old April 20th 2018, 13:04
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Awesome picture!
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  #576  
Old June 20th 2018, 14:24
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I suppose I should update the Rally Bug thread…

On our Spring Thaw event in April, the Rally Bug was essentially flawless. It’s running quite rich, and I thought I’d have time to play with the tuning before / during the event, but truthfully didn’t. The organizer spends too much time stressing over the actual event, so there just wasn’t time to breathe and play with the tuning. Despite an excessive fuel bill, the car ran flawlessly throughout the event. Hosted 89 cars, 181 people for dinner each night. As the event progressed, I noticed it was harder to start first-thing in the morning, but didn’t think too much about it, as it’s an issue that seems to have crept up since switching to fuel injection.









Following the Spring Thaw, it was home for a very fast turnaround before loading the car onto the trailer for Colorado. I made some adjustments to the brake bias, changed up the tools and spares package, and headed onto a long road trip south. This would be the real test of the fuel injection system. Could I go from Sea Level to 6,000ft (and 11,000ft on mountain passes) without problems?

After 5 days of driving and being a tourist, I finally arrived at the unloading spot for my trailer. Fired the bug up, with significant difficulty, and took it for a spin. Whoa was it terrible! Since switching over to fuel injection, it’s never run well if cold…but this was something else. I wiped the map, started with a completely fresh map, and started retuning the car from the very beginning. I spent a full day working on the map, and when it was finished the car ran quite well. So well, in fact, that I would argue it was becoming fuel-efficient! Amazing what will happen if you spend some time tuning, instead of trying to do 2min sessions every once and a while :P



The first two days of the Colorado adventure were flawless. We started in Grand Junction, went over the Grand Mesa and then into Gateway Canyon, where we turned south to Telluride. Highway 141 through Gateway is one of my favourite roads of all time…you might know it from The Grand Tour Jaguar Episode (hint, when they leave the resort stealing all the toiletries, that’s Gateway Canyon Resort). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlPhIy7Te18





From Telluride we went up and looped through Moab Utah, before heading back into Grand Junction for the night. Day two continued to be flawless, so much so that Ross, Jacob, Erik and I decided we’d take the Fiat and Rally Bug on an off-road adventure. We went over a mountain pass, about sixty miles, on a gravel excursion that definitely wasn’t in the official route book!


As we hammered away on the gravel, which was quite washboard-y at times, I was worried about flatting the high-performance summer tires, bending a rim, or what-have you. I much prefer gravel on proper tires! We had a rock take out the O2 sensor for the wideband tuning and Fuel-Injection…but not to worry, the rally bug has a second unit installed “just in case”. We switched over to sensor B, and continued our drive. The Fiat dashboard rattled loose, the air filters on both cars were filthy, and both cars noticed a few running issues on the other-side. No worries, a bit of clean pavement should clean them out!

Day three didn’t start nearly as well as I had hoped. In fact, the rally bug wouldn’t start at all. We swapped coils, we changed fuel maps, we tried starting fluid…nothing. Finally I tossed a tow rope on it, and go the sweep truck to pull me, just to see if we could get it to kick over. In less than 10ft of tow, it fired right up. Hmmmmm….that’s weird. Whatever, it’s running, the organizer is an hour behind, and we have to get to the finish! We hit the road, and I put my foot down to catch up. Along the way we passed a Datsun 1500 which had a battery/engine fire. They were okay, and cars behind us would have the spares they needed, so we pushed on. At the mid-morning stop, the car started on a quick bump-start, but sounded “off”. I was stressed, and it sounded like it was running on three cylinders. Rev it up, and it cleared up, and the computer showed good fuel numbers…so run with it!

At one point we lost the signal from Oxygen Sensor B, but as the fuel map was quite well developed at this point we simply switched the computer to run off the map only, with no adjustments.

An hour and half down the road, we pulled over to help some guys who had made a wrong turn. A waft of smoke passed the car as we did, and I pulled over expecting to find I sucked a valve cover gasket or something and had some oil burning off the exhaust. Instead, I was greeted with shouts from the other car saying “Flames! You’re on FIRE!!” Whoa! Jumped out, ran to the back an instantly knew what happened.

Yes, there were 8” flames coming out of the rear apron/under the fender, and I couldn’t blow them out, but it wasn’t fire extinguisher worthy. “water, get me a water bottle!”. I put the fire out, and assessed the damage. An exhaust gasket had burned out, and we spent an hour and a half ejecting hot exhaust right against the apron. Burned the paint, the the engine seal, the fender welt, and all of the wiring to 02 Sensor B. Oops. We removed the offending parts, zip-tied the engine lid up, and hammered onto the finish! None of this waiting around for a tow :P



About 35min down the road we started to see an oil-stream on the highway, and turning the corner found our friends in the Fiat on the side of the road. I guess our gravel excursion had loosened the drain plug, and they lost all the oil out onto the highway on day three. Noticed/saved it before any engine damage…and after we all searched through our spare parts, a thermostat was found that fit…and it was refilled with oil to continue to the finish!

Since returning home from the Silver Summit, I’ve been battling the Rally Bug to find the no-start issue when it’s cold. I identified a weak spark, and started to chase down the possibilities. New coil, cap, rotor, plugs, plug wires, pertronix…and I finally hooked up the computer controlled ignition system to see if I couldn’t chase it down. I’ve tried everything! And then, it hit me…Dave, when was the last time you checked the valve adjustment? The car has done roughly 20,000km since the last valve adjustment. Uh, oops. You know, compression is a pretty important part of the whole combustion sequence.



Yeah, so I’m an idiot. But the car runs WONDERFULLY now. I’ve spent some time tuning it on my sea-level tune, and it’s now at the point where you simply start the car and it idles right away. I’ve leaned it out a little, and between fuel tuning and spark tuning I’ve found more power and better fuel mileage.
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  #577  
Old June 20th 2018, 14:41
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Great story, tnx!
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  #578  
Old July 19th 2018, 14:23
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Went down to Victoria BC for the VW show in mid-june. Hilariously, the Rally Bug won best late model beetle, even thought I hadn't really cleaned it. I only entered for the parking with group, but I'll take it!

The Rally Bug thanked me by dropping a valve seat on the way home. Sitting at a traffic light idling, and all of a sudden the valve train started making horrific noises. I pulled into the gas station next to the light, popped the 1/2 valve cover and found #2 intake with about 1/4" of play. Presumably I dropped the valve seat, and hadn't yet broken off the valve head...I mean, I would anticipate that a valve head makes a lot more noise! Truck and trailer were 2.5 hours away, so basically 8 hours round trip to get the truck and trailer, come back for the car and get home. Well, the head is garbage right? Readjusted the valve, considered the likely possibility of grenading the motor before getting home, and then decided to go for it! The last thing I did was to select a VERY rich tune, and lock out the tune so it wasn't reading the O2 sensor, just running off the map. It was rich enough to burn the eyes of my buddy behind me as we drove :P

After getting home at 8:30pm, I drained the oil and pulled the motor. Valve seat confirmed, don't know if I did any piston damage. Carnage photos tomorrow night once I pull the motor apart.

The next day...



Sadly, the piston got the kiss of death from the valve seat. That's my last set of forged German Mahle pistons. I have a new set of pistons and cylinders on the shelf, but they are cast units. Sad Panda. The new heads will be CNC ported and shaped, as my usual head guy who hand did this set isn't available in 2018. Since I will need to spec the combustion chamber size, I installed a new piston and cylinder and measured it all up. The cylinders are a slightly different length than my old ones, and the cylinder heads will be slightly different as well...so I'll have to do all new pushrods and valvetrain geometry on the rebuild.

If your valve train ever makes horrible noises, and you decide "I can limp it 2.5hrs home from Victoria", be sure you're making an educated decision. I knew the moment the seat dropped the head was garbage and the piston was likely done too, and so I figured it was worth the risk. Not sure if you can see the aluminum melted all around the valve seat from combustion gases escaping up the intake. It's in the parts washer tonight...will be clearer when clean.



Unfortunately my end play (crank movement forward and back) was out of spec. It wasn't a shim problem, the thrust bearing has pounded out the case .005". So tonight I tore the whole motor down to a bare case so it can head to the machine shop. That's a two and half hour job with cleaning 50% of the components, and measuring everything before disassembly so I know what's in spec and what needs to be replaced. It'll get new main bearings, new cam bearings and maybe new lifters...but everything else is in spec. I'm super, super tempted to switch to an aluminum case (vs magnesium)...but the $900usd is NOT in the budget. My engine building friend says they run hotter as well, so we'll repair the magnesium case.

New heads, new intakes, and new pushrods all ordered from CB Performance. Of course I CNC ported and matched everything, so it should be a little quicker out of the box once it's back together :P heh heh. You can't blow up parts and NOT upgrade!?!

-Dave
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  #579  
Old August 29th 2018, 18:52
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Well, a quick update. Got it all back together using new bits from CB and had the car running in time for the Great Canadian Volkswagen show. When I first assembled it, it sounded like I had an exhaust leak. Small pop at idle. Swapped out the gaskets, and took it to the show. For the most part, it runs great. But I get a pop like a plugged idle jet *just* when the butterflies are opened ever so slightly. So, if you're coasting off throttle, and add just a hair of throttle, it will pop. But not always. Maddening, but I haven't been able to figure out if it's timing, fuel or a simple exhaust leak. Some of the pops will show a flame out the tailpipes at night, but not all of them. Always fun.





-Dave
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  #580  
Old September 7th 2018, 01:46
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Thanks again for taking the time to write all of this up..!

Looks like some real fun.

Are you -sure- you don’t want to ditch the VST exhaust for a proper header?
It might not look the part, but should make (way) more power and not cause leaks.
Did I not see two stacked gaskets there where it leaked?

Again,
Thanks for showing us how it’s done.
I did that Telluride run summer before last,
Albeit in a camper bus loaded with family..
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  #581  
Old September 7th 2018, 14:09
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My issue with a proper header is the look. One of the key parts of this build, for me at least, is the fact that externally it is a pretty good visual replica of the factory rally cars. I mean, obviously I've taken liberties and it's true the exhaust looks nothing like a stock muffler (that they used on the factory cars)...but it [i]is[/] much closer in look than a header system. To be fair to Vintage Speed, they have taken very good care of me with this build, and I abuse the crap out of his products. Before I started feeling guilty about it, they were sending me a new system every 6-8mo because I'd put so many dents in them with rocks. The systems are beautiful, but I think the flanges should probably be thicker for a user like me who removes the exhaust system often. Eventually my flanges end up slightly curved, due to over-torquing, and I start to blow out gaskets. On the particular one that blew above, I had meant to weld that connection up but didn't find the time before leaving for Colorado. It's now welded up on both the #2 and #4 connections, so you remove the muffler and stubs off the rear of the engine in one piece. You are correct in that I'm using two gaskets stacked down below, also a factor of a couple of cut and weld modifications I made to the lower flanges. The current exhaust system on my car is actually made up from least-damaged parts from a few systems I've used over the years. Its either the J-tubes or the muffler that came from a unit I used with heater boxes, and the other are non-heater box units. I had to do a bit of creative welding to join the two together into a non-heater box system. The double gaskets, if I line them up correctly on install, last indefinitely.

When I use the Vintage Speed systems on street beetles, they seem to last forever without any problems. Given that the muffler is the lowest part on the rally bug, it's not surprising that it's less than perfect on gravel roads and rallycross events!

I often think about putting a CSP Super Competition system on the car, but even with all the publicity the car has had...no deals are available. $800 euro is a big price tag on a system I can't be sure will take gravel racing any better than the Vintage Speed systems.

Ironically, I quickly solved the popping issue. I didn't line up the double gaskets correctly when I installed them after the rebuild. Popped in a pair of new ones, and it runs like a champ. Finally have the sea-level tune to a point where I don't have to clean the tailpipes after a short drive. Getting better and better!


Missed it by -><- that much!


-Dave
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