Ok, lets see. When we last left off, I was removing the Integrated Engineering intake manifold in place of the OEM manifold so that I could pass my long-overdue emissions testing, here in California. Well, to make a long story short, in the midst of it all, (I) managed to damage an injector seal, thus not passing my emissions testing at first pass. Once I found this out, I quickly replaced all injector seals and retested and passed. And after 8 months of driving around with expired registration, I was back on the ‘safe’ list.
Around this time, I was starting to max out on vacation at work. I got a wild idea to do a road trip and see a bunch of race tracks along the way. So with that, it was time to ‘prep’ my car. There was a few little things that were bothering me and I still needed to tend to. For one, the B-pillar posts had been chipping away on the front doors, for quite some time now. I took them off, wet sanded them and sprayed them the same satin black as the rear valance and front grille. Once installed, no more eye sore glaring at me. The next order of business was to finally install my sideskirts that had been painted since Halloween of the previous year. It really does tie in the lower half of the car. The lines of the car flow from the front all the way to the rear now. Very happy with how they came out. One other smaller project was buffing the front headlights (again). The downside to having aftermarket headlights is that the acrylic lenses aren’t of the same OEM quality. This equates to dulling, pitting, and at times, ‘spider-webbing’. But after they were done, they looked brand new. Let me just say, air tools make a world of difference in instances like this.
So now that the smaller projects were completed, right before the long road trip, of course, I must put the IE intake manifold back in along with the support ECU. The downside was, again, the BSH intake and supporting breather hoses that connect to it/OEM intake manifold were not built to co-side with the IE intake manifold. This had to be remedied, a comfortable, two days before the trip was to take place. No problem, right? Right! I again tapped the shoulder of my good friend Rick at Synergy Motorsports to dream up a ‘final version’ of a reworked BSH intake charge pipe. We came to the conclusion that since we still wanted to utilize the purposed mounting location, as originally designed for the intake charge pipe, that we would section the charge pipe into 2 pieces and use silicone couplers to connect them. This would help resolve any issue routing a single piece of pipe through a tight space and make for MUCH faster install/uninstall when emissions testing is presented. It ended up working out perfectly for the both of us, even if the idea was off the cuff.
Now comes the road trip; what would soon turn into endless stretches of highway, breathtaking views and some of the greatest motorsports locations. I took about 3 weeks of planning, here and there, to travel from Northern California, through Nevada into Utah, stretch through Utah into Arizona and back into California, by way of So. Cal. The trip was mapped; 8 days, 2500+ miles, 5 race tracks, and lots of regional/national parks. I’ll be brief in saying, I was given the chance to visit THE Bonneville Salt Flats. Mind-blowingly incredible. Even while some of it was still under water, just walking around and breathing in the history of what has been achieve at this location. The blood, sweat, and tears that were shed. Nothing can prepare you for the type of sensory overload. It’s nothing words can justify. Truly an experience I’ll never forget. Nevermind the fact of having my car (somewhat) on the salt (pictures to come in another post). I also got to visit the National Auto Museum, Miller Motorsports park (home to Mr. Ken Block and Ford Racing), Integrated Engineering (where I got to tour their facilities), Fishlake National Forest, Zion National Park, The Grand Canyon, Chuckwalla Raceway (where I was able to walk the course and melt in the process), Auto Club Speedway, Willow Springs Raceway, and Buttonwillow Raceway… All within the course of a week. A few more experiences were had but those are just to name a few. I will say, for driving 2500+ miles, I only consumed less than 1 quart of oil. I averaged about 28mpg, which is pretty awesome considering most of my drive was spent on cruise control around 90+mph (the freeways in Nevada and Utah are extremely baron and desolate. Not to mention the speed limits are 75-80mph.)and the weather fluctuated anywhere from 26 degrees to 108 degrees. The car held up perfectly and gave no sign of troubles. What a champ!
Once back home, we’re around early-mid May. The temps here in California are starting to warm up and the sun shades do nothing for the over-like temperatures one is to endure after a long day of work. This is where the leather seats/steering wheel and aluminum shift knob decisions were greatly regretted. Finding a dual purpose in solving the issue, rather than scalding my hand, I decided to use an over mit to cover the shift knob during the day. And if its still too hot, I can use the over mit to shift, just the same!
Jump ahead to July, while things have died down a bit for the most part, in the auto-realm, having since moved into a different house, a new challenge had presented itself. Driveways. A seemingly small obstacle in the norm of day to day, but for the lowered folks, a challenge amongst us all. For about a week or so, I’d been running into a clunking sound coming in and out of my driveway. As if the subframe was shifting, yet again. However, one night I stuck my head under the drivers side front wheel well to find that the lower sway bar endlink had not only come loose, but completely undone. The clunking noise was the endlink shaft swaying about and (likely) hitting the fender liner and axle. Finding this out helped further pinpoint the clunking that was going on. However it did not solve the exhaust tips from scrapping nearly all of the time upon entrance/exit of the driveway. What to do? You’re on coilovers, so simply raise it, right? Wrong. Being about 3 threads from the top of the rear perch, I didn’t want to push my luck any further. From here I didn’t have many options. I could either deal with it daily and hate a little bit more of myself for causing such trauma to my car or I could take the plunge and spend the money on the suspension I had been eye-balling for well over 2 years now. The fix? Air suspension. While not a cheap route, it was THE route to ensure I’d get the ground clearance I needed for things like driveways, speed bumps and further road obstacles I’m bound to encounter. I searched the classifieds and became a little bit more familiar with the items I was seeking out and ended up finding a kit somewhat local to me. So without further hesitation, sent a few emails and some money and am set to pick up a full, top of the line AirLift/Accu-Air suspension setup. More details will come in the upcoming weeks.
Anyhow, without further delay, here are the pics of progress. Stay tuned…
Well there’s your problem
the life of a Californian… Post-emissions testin
Time to get those sideskirts on
Plotting the line of where they are to be placed
All tucked in for a good nights rest
Lookin brand new(ish)
IE Intake manifold going back on
A tale of two ECUs
New and improved BSH intake charge pipe
Upside down, but you get the idea
Final product with extended breather lines
This is whats to see on the road about 30mins outside of Reno, NV
THE Bonneville Salt Flats
Rolling through Fishlake National Forest. Gorgeously paved roads!
Bug hunt + leg day
Some like it hot
Well there’s your problem (again)
A pic from the previous owners setup (Jetta-Sportwagon)