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"Easy" Aircooled Engine Bolt On Modifications

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"Easy" Aircooled Engine Bolt On Modifications

Post by LhYnxz on Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:30 pm

Have you been asking the question "I want to make my VW faster; what modifications should I make and in what order?" or, "I want to make my car more fun to drive; what can I do?"

The answers will depend somewhat on your budget, but we have also created a guide that presents modifications in the order that will maximize the benefits per dollar spent! Most of these mods are easily reversible, and do no damage to your car. These changes will give the biggest grins/dollar from your car! Of course there are more involved mods that also give a lot of fun/$, but this article focusses on BOLT-ON mods that you can do easily in a day or so.

Suspension and Shifter Modifications

Shift Coupler, Shift Rod Bushing, and Quick Shift Kit: Approx $20 and 3 hours work. Unless you KNOW they were changed recently, the shift coupler and shift rod bushing in your car ARE SHOT, so replace them. The quick shift kit ($7) will shorten the shift throw and make driving more fun.

Custom Shifter: 20 minutes. Be very careful when choosing a custom shifter - most are junk! Plan on spending $100 for a good one; Currently, the only shifters we recommend besides the stock shifter (with or without a quick shift) are the Scat Shifters (which we carry) and the Gene Berg shifters (these you can get one at Geneberg.com). The ORIGINAL Hurst shifters are also excellent, but they haven't been made in over 20 years, so used is the way to find these (swapmeets and Ebay).

Front and Rear Swaybars: Plan on 1 hour per bar (Super Beetle front bar takes a little longer). If you add swaybars, upgrade the one in front AND add one to the rear to keep the handling balanced. The standard heavy duty swaybars will be fine for most people, but if you plan on hill climbs or Auto-X, make sure that you get adjustable swaybars so that you can tune your suspension to get the last inch of performance which many of the other guys won't be able to get. There are two types of rear suspension on VWs; IRS and Swing Axle. IRS should use a swaybar, but Swing Axles use something called a Camber Compensator.

Convert to front disc brakes: Plan on 3 hours. Super beetle and 4-lug STD Beetles alike will really benefit from this upgrade (especially if you are planning on increasing your driving speed with engine and suspension modifications). There are two distinct advantages to disc brakes:

1. They are self adjusting (VW drum brakes need to be manually adjusted).
2. In wet weather, you will have great stopping power because they are "self cleaning" and shed themselves of excess water and dirt. Drum brakes do not do this.

5-lug wheel owners are stuck with a $550 kit to convert to discs, but they are currently only available for the Link Pin front ends (65 and older), not Ball Joint. It's important to note that no master cylinder change is required. Consider adding stainless brake hoses while you are at it; these swell less for a firmer pedal and better feel. 4-lug car owners should also consider changing rear brakes to the type 3 units; scrounge the junkyard and get everything from the backing plate outward. They bolt right on and are about twice as effective as your stock units, and retain your stock E-brake; be sure to replace the brake shoes and wheel cylinders, and check the drums to make sure they are within spec. If you do not want to upgrade the entire rear brake package to Type 3, there's another trick you can use! We only recommend this if you have a "mismatch" of front and rear tires (if your rear tires are significantly larger then the front tires). If this is the case, install the Super Stopper rear wheel cylinders to provide massive braking power and restore the front/rear braking balance to your car. For drum brake owners, we also have added our Super Stopper brake shoes (front and rear) which increase braking power even with your existing drum brakes. These Super Stopper brake shoes are an excellent alternative to the much more expensive and complex disc brake conversion.

Add a Custom Steering Wheel: 1 hour. The smaller the steering wheel, the more difficult the steering effort, but the quicker the steering response! Stock wheels were sized at 15" so grandma could drive the car when shopping; you are most likely stronger than Grandma, so you can take advantage of a smaller steering wheel, and you will also get more choices in color and style. Years ago, the Formuling France wheel was the "standard", but that company went out of business, so finding a new Formuling wheel is next to impossible. Nowadays the standard performance wheel for your car is the Motorace. If you want a step up in style and class, the best steering wheel available on the market is made by Nardi, a hand-made Italian steering wheel. The Nardi Classic and Nardi Replica wheels are absolutely gorgeous and are available in several sizes, grips (wood, leather, or both wood/leather on the same wheel), and spokes (3 or 4 spoke, black, polished, chrome, satin, etc). We don't recommend adding a small custom wheel on Busses, since steering effort becomes too difficult, especially in parking lots (You need the leverage)! You can install them on Vanagons if you have power assist steering.

Seats: Approx 3 hours. The stock seats were budget minded and are anything but supportive and/or comfortable for faster than stock driving. There are several easy swap out seat options. We have full interior upgrade kits or individual seat/track systems in the seat section of our catalog.

Shocks: All four in 1 hour - that's the time AFTER you get the bolts loose! Don't go overboard here! SuperBeetles can use gas strut inserts in the front, which give a higher performance ride (stiffer) -- but Standard Beetles MUST stick with oil shocks (unless you like having your fillings rattled loose!) Don't bother with heavy duty shocks either (same problem). Trust me, it isn't worth it. If you are trying to install your new front shocks onto the lower shock mount and the shock doesn't fit, the steel sleeve from your old shock is seized on the mount and must be removed. A grinder, heat, and penetrating oil. In the rear, use low-pressure gas shocks. High-pressure gas shocks are available, but the ride is stiffened a good bit, and they WILL RAISE THE HEIGHT OF THE VEHICLE BY ABOUT 1 ". This can be useful if your bus/bug has the rear-end sag that is common on some high mileage vehicles. But, if your car is "normal" in appearance, the addition of these shocks will make your car look like a 70's retro-ride (remember the High-Jackers?).

Front suspension: Check to make sure your steering components are not worn out or sloppy. (If your Super Beetle suffers from a "shimmy problem" , it will be addressed in a separate article). If the front of the car is lowered, you MUST add caster shims between the lower beam tube and the frame head of the car (a 15-minute job) to correct front-end geometry. This will also make the car run nice and straight at higher speeds; slightly increased steering effort is needed at parking lot speeds.

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Re: "Easy" Aircooled Engine Bolt On Modifications

Post by LhYnxz on Thu Nov 27, 2008 3:30 pm

Engine and Transmission Modifications

Synthetic Gear Oil: 30
minute job. If you are sick of difficult shifting when it's really
cold, replace that dinosaur gear oil with a good synthetic. It will
shift like butter in even the coldest temps, and give a slight increase
in mileage too! If you have a new transmission, do NOT use synthetic
initially (during the break in period). You can start using synthetic
after your new tranny has about 6000 miles on it.

Fuel Hose: 1
hour job. I strongly recommend cloth braided fuel hose. Every 6 months,
you should inspect it! Bend it over 180 degrees, and if it cracks or is
stiff, REPLACE IT. Leaking fuel hose is the #1 cause of those
smoldering VWs you see on the side of the road. Don't be a statistic.
Install the fuel filter next to the transmission; you should NOT have a
filter between the pump and carb. The added weight of the fuel in the
filter at THIS location can wiggle the fuel fitting in the carb loose,
and it will pop out spraying gasoline all over your hot engine AND THE
DISTRIBUTOR (sparks + gasoline = empty wallet + tears + no more car)
while the engine continues to run. Don't say we didn't warn you!

Replace
Points and Condenser with a Compufire: 20 minutes to install. Contrary
to popular "wisdom", you are not going to get a huge power increase
with this part. You WILL get a no maintenance item (unless you love
adjusting points and timing), which gives rock-steady ignition timing
under all conditions. In my opinion, this is a must-do modification
even for stock cars! Getting the rubber grommet into the hole properly
is the hardest part of the job (I'm not kidding).

Upgrade your
Distributor: this upgrade usually astounds VW drivers! The SVDA
Distributor is the way to go (we have models for almost every
application), and gives a "stock appearance" to the engine. If you have
a 34 PICT carb, this is the distributor for you. Another 3 mpg over the
original push/pull or pull only distributor, not to mention getting rid
of the the dreaded 009 flat spot! If you want the BEST, there is no
equal to a Mallory Distributor (be sure to get vacuum advance for best
results).

Replace your stock pulley with an Aluminum Degree
Pulley: 30 minutes to change it out. Doing so will make ignition timing
much easier. The stock pulley comes in five different versions using
notches for timing marks. The notches are in so many different
configurations and since pulleys may have been switched several times
during the life of an engine, you can't know what you have unless you
measure it, which is a tedious process. The easy way out is to put the
Aluminum degree pulley on, and instantly know where you are at. They
are also pretty to look at :0)

Add a CDI to your Ignition
System: under an hour. The Capacitive Discharge Ignition provides a
major ignition upgrade, and can be installed in under an hour. Spark
plugs last 4X longer and plug gap can be opened up to .040". In return
for the investment in a CDI, you get 3-4 mpg better mileage and your
starts with a quick turn of the key even on cold mornings (instead of
2-3 seconds of cranking before it fires up). SMOOTH running, even
before it's warmed up! Must be used with a set of Super-Mag Plug Wires
(the higher energy produced by the CDI will overwhelm stock or used
wires), and complete the ensemble with a new set of NGK plugs (better
than Bosch).

Replace the Ignition Cap & Rotor: 3 minutes
(give or take). Bosch is the ONLY brand of these parts that I recommend
you install. Leave the clear distributor caps for the show cars (they
run like crap). Make sure you switch wires one at a time!

Replace
Muffler with 1 3/8" Exhaust Header: Plan on 3 hours if it's your first
time. This is an easy bolt on item. Use a GERMAN muffler kit, or flange
kit for a no-leak install. Stick to 1 3/8" unless you have some pretty
decent flowing heads, AND have removed the heater boxes (they are a
restriction) OR used a high-flow set of heater boxes. The hardest part
of a header installation is getting your old muffler off without
breaking the exhaust studs! You'll need a muffler to use with this
header. Our personal favorite for stockish engines is the hide-a-way
muffler which offers superb ground clearance and very quiet operation.

Add
an Oil Filter: The stock engine has a strainer, but not a filter. You
can extend your engine's oil change intervals from the original 1000
miles, to 3000 miles by adding a real oil filter. There are two ways to
do this:

* Use our filter pump assembly. But this will not fit 68-71 busses or Type 3s
* Use our full flow filter kit. We have a version of this kit to fit
all engines including 68-71 busses and Type 3s. The full flow filter
kit requires that the engine case be drilled/tapped or you can use our
return adaptor for a completely bolt on solution.

Install Ratio
Rocker Arms: 1-2 hour installation time. If you can adjust valves, you
can install these. They MUST be used with shorter pushrods. We
recommend 1.4 rockers (which DO work on stock engines). 1.25 rockers
give you almost no gain for your work; waste of effort. 1.25's work
well with some high performance cam shafts but you have to know what
you're doing! 1.4's will really wake up a stock engine, especially if
it's a dual port, and if you have additional carburetion. Replace your
valve cover gaskets at the same time. If you have problems with leaky
valve covers, make sure that you use genuine VW valve covers and bails.

Have
your flywheel lightened: (engine removal is required for this
modification) If you are uncoordinated at driving a stick, or have a
HEAVY car (baja, bus or type 3 or 4), this modification is NOT for you.
The lightened flywheel will allow the engine to rev faster. Do NOT add
a heavy duty clutch unless you get an 8-doweled crank and flywheel to
keep the flywheel on tight! Don't forget that changing flywheels
requires you to re-set the endplay, and it's strongly recommended (by
me) that you change your flywheel seal (main seal) and o-ring. It is
also a good idea to put in a new gland nut. Don't forget to have
flywheel shims on hand and an end play tool. You are in there, so you
may as well do it. Check your clutch while you're at it, too!

Carburetion:
VW engines are EXCEPTIONALLY under-carbureted. You have many options,
all of which require more exhaust flow (you did that already, remember?
-- see "Replace Muffler with 1 3/8" Exhaust Header").

* First
option is the new dual solex 35mm carburetors, with or without chokes.
For stockish engines with a worn out stock carb or for someone who just
wants a little bit more performance without the headaches of constant
carburetor maintenance, these are the carbs to get. Currently they are
only available for dual port engines.
* Single port engines should
use these dual-single bbl carbs. This kit has a steel crossbar (not
center-pull and NOT aluminum) linkage.
* Third option is the center
mount 2bbl, which can be a SOB to tune, and requires manifold heat.
Jetting this sucker can take a while, but if/when you get it right,
it's a fantastic setup. It ONLY works on upright engines (type 1 and
2), since type 3 and 4 engines don't have manifold heat, and a center
mount carb WILL ice up and be a nightmare to drive!

Dual 2bbl
carbs. MORE options - Dellorto DRLA's (the IDF counterpart), and the
Weber. Weber makes the IDF as their main carb, and the IDA, which is
primarily a race carburetor set. You also have the Weber DCNF, and
Solex 40P11 (used on old Porsches).

* IDFs come in 40, 44, and
48mm sizes. Nice carbs for street cars, but the factory making them has
closed down so availability is getting scarce. These are also the
carburetor of choice for off road cars! Off road cars should run a
center mount (instead of duals), either progressive or IDF.
* IDAs
are race carburetors. Contrary to popular opinion, these CAN work very
well on the street! Not much of a progression circuit, so in unmodified
form, they are either off or on! (Idle or full throttle). Modifications
properly done will make them more "driveable", and once modified they
work VERY well. Many guys routinely report 8-12 mpg (yikes!) but in
these cases they are jetted all wrong. 25-27 mpg on the highway is
correct when they are properly set up, even on large engines. However,
IDAs do not have provisions for vacuum advance which we feel is a
requirement for a true street carburetor.
* Solex 40P11 are old
carbs, rather rare, and work very well IF they aren't worn. Similar to
the IDF and DRLA in appearance and function.
* DCNFs are getting to
be very tough to find parts for, and easily flood if the going gets
rough. The cost of the air cleaners, linkage and intake manifolds
individually for the DCNF can be very expensive, so we recommend that
you DON'T buy a set of DCNFs unless you are getting everything with it!
Your best bet on dual carbs for the street now are the Dual Weber IDF,
in 40, 44, and 48mm sizes. We offer these with a "setup and adjust"
option to minimize your headaches, just bolt them on and go!

I
run either the stock carb, or any of the dual 2bbl carburetors. I see
no point in dual 1bbls, so I skip these. Venturi size (the narrowest
part in the carb throat) should be about 3mm smaller than intake valve
on stock or mild engines, and about SAME size as the intake valve on
high output engines. All 2bbl Dellorto and Weber carbs have changeable
venturis, so you can match the carburetor to the engine somewhat by
tuning and re-sizing - but don't expect a set of 44 Weber's to work on
your stock 1600 cc engine!. Remember, venturis and jets are expensive,
so it's best to start with your carbs in the right range. Re-jetting a
set of dual 2bbls will cost about $100-150. It ain't cheap and it takes
HOURS to dial in

From this point on, you are looking at much
more involved engine modifications, which require engine disassembly or
machine work. I'll leave those jobs for other articles!

_________________

LhYnxz
Site Administrator
Site Administrator

Number of posts : 485
Age : 37
Location : Bayamon, PR
Reputation : 0
Points : 30
Registration date : 2007-12-01

View user profile http://www.vwfusioncrew.net

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