That’s A Wrap… Sorta – 11.05.016

Time to check in for my, seemingly, bi-annual post.  The good news is nothing’s drastically changed, so I’ll cut to the chase and try to save the rambles.

I think all thats to report is that my coolant bubble gave out one morning on my way to work, shooting my coolant temp up.  Thankfully I was only a block from my house and was able to nurse it back into my garage with no further damage.  I installed a new bubble and hoses shortly after and all has been good.  Though I have seemed to go through coolant since that episode.  Not sure why.  Also, G13 is sticky as hell and is a pain in the ass to clean up in tight areas.

Fast-forward a few weeks later and after six weeks of calling and getting a reply, I was able to find a shop that could install a satin black roof.  An easy job, no major cuts or antennas to work around.  But took three different shops to finally give a call back.  I had them install a 3M Satin Black roof with matching window bar.  It cuts the vertical visibility a bit, but I actually prefer it.  Does help with blocking sun and keep the cabin a bit darker.

Still haven’t gotten the stupid airbag light checked out (very low on my To-Do List, clearly) nor have I installed the bluetooth module, but I do have a few things on deck for the next couple months.  I know I need to replace my rear rotors and have my fronts resurfaced, if I haven’t already beaten them into submission, I also need to flush my brake fluid along with it.  From there, I’d really like to get my heated seats wired up before winter really sets in.  Also thinking about doing a color refresh for the red accents along with a different set of wheels (I know, I know).  But I need something new, even if its only for a while.  I’ve had the the mirrors/trim painted red for over 4 years and the wheels for over 2 1/2.  Its justifiable, right?

Anyhow, here comes the part where I post pictures.

Stay tuned…960

“One of these things is not like the other…”

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G13.  That shit gets everywhere and is a pain to clean

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See what I mean?

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These hose ain’t loyal

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Just your average VW drivers group/meet up

983Fade to black

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Don’t be a fool. Wrap your tool.

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Roof is all done

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Time for the window bar

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Finished product

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Now in sunlight

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Found a buddy of mind in the work parking lot

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It’s becoming a new thing lately.

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Aired out on the grass

971

When you get pulled over… Gotta pay to play.

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Impromptu lunchtime whorage

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Seriously, why would you ever want an automatic?!

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Rainy day.  Dream away.

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Butt.

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Can You Hear Me Now? – 04.20.016

As per usual, it’s been a long time off.  I wouldn’t say a lot has changed.  If anything there’s been some smaller tweaks and mild upgrades.  Beware of ramblings and digressions…

Diving straight into it, I had been toying with the idea of making my wheels pop a bit more.  So I picked up a some small sheets of metallic red vinyl.  I heated them up and worked them over my centercaps and reinstalled them.  While it does add a good bit of color to the body, the UV rays from the sun have beat the bloody-hell out of the drivers side vinyls.  Being that its only been a few months, it was a nice ‘fad’ but by no means was it long term, which was fine.  At this point, I’m about ready to remove them and either find yet another set of wheels or do something different.  And I haven’t figured out which direction I could go, while spending the least amount of money.

In my off-time I was poking around and looking into small, slim subwoofers.  I happened to come across a few and after a week or two of researching, I had finally pulled the trigger on a really good deal for a Rockford Fosgate PS-8.  A small 300w, powered 8″ subwoofer.  It measures at 13″x9″x3.3″.  I still needed a few components to run this, as I was given an RCD-510 (chinese) head unit from a good friend of mine.  In lieu of that, I needed to pick up a newer CANbus control module to prevent the plagued battery drain issue, from the newer RCD-510 units.  I had also started to develop a rattle on startup, coming from the passenger footwell.  Turns out, it was the circulation vent flap motor that was going bad.  While it was only audible through startup, it was becoming annoying.  Seeking out the part, I put in a batch order for everything needed and set out to pull apart the interior and hammer these installs in one day.

While waiting for all the miscellaneous parts to arrive, I was also looking into doing some sound deadening in the trunk/rear seat-pan area.  I had looked over countless reviews and materials and finally settled on 25 sq.ft. of SecondSkin Damplifier Pro.  It had a great review and the black finish (opposed to Dynamat’s metallic finish) was another selling point for me.  Once it arrived, I set aside some time to pull my trunk lining apart.  I was planning on deadening the trunk floor pan, part of the wheelwells, most of the spare tub-well and as much as I could get of the rear seat-pan.  It laid out nicely and was a very straight-forward install.  Fast forwarding a few weeks, I also lined the rear parcel tray.  Doing this made a dramatic decrease in compressor-on/air-our exhaust noise reduction.  Overall, I’m really happy with the noise that was blocked out by the Damplifier Pro.  It’s thick but manageable.  On the road, it reduces road noise and exhaust drone.

The time finally came where I had all the pieces and I finally had the time so I set out to install the vent flap motor, RCD-510, CANbus controller, and the PS-8 sub.  Everything went as planned, though the CANbus seems to be wonky, so I do need to further troubleshoot that.  But the sub sounds great!  Really picks up the bottom end and for such a small unit, it packs a punch.  My intention wasn’t to thump around town, but rather fill in the bottom end and this little monster sure does that.  For the price and the output, its really not a bad way to spend $180.  Originally installed it in the trunk and after testing it out behind the drivers seat, it fills out so much better, in cab than in the trunk, so I think for now thats where it will sit.  I’m not so worried about being a passenger obstacle as about 90% of the time its just me in the car.  And in the rare cases where I have passengers, I never have more than 3 people in car, total.  The RCD-510 is great!  Seems to be much louder than the previous Semting unit I had in.  Though I do find myself driving with the radio much louder than before so that could also be a factor.  Vent flap motor is also fixed and no more noise on start up.  The only thing left to wire up is the Bluetooh module (9W2) for bluetooth streaming audio and phone calls.

I will also note that I’ve finally got my front dampers adjusted.  After months of thinking they were frozen, I reached out the VWVortex technical forums and found that there is an inner shaft a bit deeper than you can see at first glance.  Currently testing different settings and love it that much more.

Decided to switch up the Flash-to-Pass/High Beam bulbs to Noyka yellow 2500k bulbs and so far I’m happy with them.

For now the only things up next will be a Satin black vinyl roof with matching windshield bar, bluetooth module, clear the airbag light (finally going to VW), rocker vinyl and at some point, respray and clearbra my front bumper, as well as respray my grille.  The past 15k havent been too kind to them.  Maybe some interior bits.  I think thats it. For now…

 

932Vinyl inserts for the centercaps

933

934Installed.  Now it makes me need new lugs

935Christmas Eve around midnight.  Decided to park on the deserted freeway.

936A few days later after a late night run in the hills, another dead stop on the freeway.  Just cause I could.

937Someone came close to dying that night.

938My roommate had blown struts.  What better way than to mock her.

939Everlasting bass

940In the friendzone.  My buddies Dinan 335IS

941

942

943Pulling the trunk apart in prep for the sound deadening.

944

945Fully stripped out

946Installing the first few sheets of SecondSkin Damplifier Pro

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955All finished

956Pictures of the frame notch, just cause I forgot to take them months ago.

957

958No glovebox, no problem.

959When this goes out, its annoying.

Read more "Can You Hear Me Now? – 04.20.016"

Finished But Not Complete – 12.13.015

As you may have seen in the few previous posts, the car is now ‘complete’ as it sits on air bags now.  A very long time coming.  2-3 years, in fact.  And while I sit here and stare at my screen and try to remember every minute detail of whats transpired, sometimes it better left unsaid.  In other news, the car isn’t exactly ‘finished’.  A few things here and there to install, modify or change up.  I’m happy with how things are currently, but I feel like I’m still wanting something to pop a bit more.  But can’t pin down just what exactly it is yet.

Back to the air ride; I had originally anticipated a false floor for the air setup to sit on.  This would hide all of my lines, tools and spare tire.  At the last minute we decided to call an audible when I dropped off my car for the install.  I spoke with James at #becausebags for a bit and he asked if I was interested in being testing out a new mounting bracket for the entire setup.  This would arrange everything neatly under the parcel tray of the trunk.  I quickly jumped to it and let them work their magic.  And was nothing less than impressed when I got it back.  Sadly, the only part that stands out is the tank.  Due to an issue with the clear, it gave a weird haze effect in certain areas of the tank.  Has no physical affect on functionality, so while its not a huge issue, its something to do later down the line if/when I’m bored.  I will add that the car is a blast to drive and feels like it has much more grip.  There is no mid-corner bounce or any bounce for that reason.  Very planted and stable, unlike with my previous coils.

So now that the car is low, you’d assume that I’d be able to drive incredibly low and have no issues.  The install was done professionally and included a frame notch for the front passenger side, so there is no issues with the frame hitting the axle.  However, due to running standard size tires (225/40/18), when the car is completely aired out, the tires sit on the front and rear bumper mounting points.  Usually wouldn’t be much of a concern to most, but upon close inspection I’ve opted to not air out particularly because when sitting on the mounting points, it has the slightest pressure on the body panel seems, forcing them to split, ever so slightly.  Most wouldn’t notice, but for the extra .5″-1″ it’s not of a big concern for me to air out completely.  At least until I find a suitable wheel/tire package that rides nice and will share no issue with the mounting points.

Now being that the car has had its suspension done, it’s in proper fashion to have it aligned.  And because it now carries adjustable camber plates and dampening adjustment, I needed to be able to have access to those features via strut tower tops.  Unfortunately, in stock form, there is only about a quarter-sized hole that allows for access.  This wasn’t exactly the best option, so with that, it was time to go shopping for a Dremel.  From there, I was able to cut out pie-wedge shapes on the top of the strut towers.  After, I cleaned up the cuts and sanded down the jagged parts as best as possible.  Now I have full access to both camber plates AND any dampening adjustments, on the fly.

Time for some routine maintenance; oil change and transmission fluid change.  I finally pulled the trigger on buying the aluminum ECS Tuning oil filter housing I’d been looking at for quite a while now.  I also picked up a magnetic drain plug for the transmission and decided to opt for Liquimoly’s transmission fluid this time around.  For whatever reason it was never done and I think I had originally thought it was a painstaking process to do.  After looking up and finding the correct information, it was a breeze.  But I soon realized, I was at twice the fluids expected lifespan.  Oops…  Anyhow, fluid was drained about 90mins after last operation and came out like water.  I left it drain for about an hour and only managed about 1.5qts.  It was so dark that no light would shine through it.  Eesh!  The new Liquimoly is a light amber color and goes in with the consistency of near pancake syrup.  Seems to be no issue with leaks or shifting hereafter.  AND it has seemed to quiet down a plagued transmission chatter issue I was having right after I did the motor swap in 2013.

For now I’m enjoying my car in all that it is.  I still have an RCD-510 to install and am toying with some ideas for next years show season.  But for now, I think I will let everything die down.  It’s been a long, intense ride but it’s been a hell of a journey and I love my car and am proud of whats been achieved.  2016  may have a few tweaks here and there, but the car will mostly remain the way it is as of now.  And if anything does change, I’ll try to be better at not waiting 2-3 months to post about it.

Stay tuned…

896Instagram famous

 

897All Down

898

899

900

901Parcel tray mounting

902

903

904Preset 1 (10% height)

905

906

907

908Making cuts

909I may have over-used one of the wheels…

910Taking shape

911Not the prettiest job in the world, but it’ll do (by the way, blue wire is new lead to Oil Pressure sender routed under the rain tray)

912

913

914

915

916Leftovers

917Not Coke

918

919The last time I’ll have to use these damn things and scrape up my forearms

920New filter and aluminum oil filter housing

921

922New magnetic drain plug for transmission

923

924

925I only found out the fluid bottle had a spout on it after I got through 3/4s of fluid.

926The duct tape actually held up for no leaks!

 

927Old picture; gauge lights are now matching blue LED and air pressure gauge reads all 4 corners + tank, in realtime

928

929

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931

Read more "Finished But Not Complete – 12.13.015"

Quick Shoots – 11.23.015

Got some time over the weekend to snag a couple shots with a buddy of mine who recently bagged his Mk6 Jetta, as well as ones of my own car around dusk.  Still getting used to the camera settings so they is no real sense of structure or photograph taking prowess.  Rather than waste time with a wall of words…

 

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Read more "Quick Shoots – 11.23.015"

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends – 11.17.015

I’m not one for whoring my accomplishments out to the world.  This blog may be about the extent of my automotive achievements.  The major ‘articles’ get sent out when major updates arise, but for the most part, I’ve not spent much sharing a seemingly rare build.  It’s becoming the 90:10 ratio; do 90% of the work to finish up and the last 10% of sharing the work seems like so much more effort.  Well, as time came around, I finally got the time to give a somewhat proper shoot for my car and felt it would be the fair enough to share the photos across social media.  I didn’t think much of it at the time.  A few likes.  A few comments.  That would be it.  What I wasn’t ready for was the mass of feedback and reception of the car.  It was incredibly hard to keep up with.  I was inundated with messages and comments.  It didn’t hit me until about an hour later… This was MY car people were raving about.  My project of 5 years that I’ve had in various stages, spent a ridiculous amount money on, times over.  It was overwhelming.  Only then did the sense of pride wash over me.  The grueling nights of part searching, sore backs, busted knuckles, broken tools,  and endless thoughts, all paid off in incremental steps to amount to something that was well-received.  Albeit, this project was never about what others thought or envisioned.  But to see the reaction, first-hand, was nothing short of amazing.  I’m very proud of the cars current state and am even more pleased that I got to share it with my dad, whom was vital in helping transform and construct crucial portions of the cars key features.

Below is the post of the small photo shoot I did with the car in its current state along with the post that was shared on social media.  I also felt it important to share some of the responses given by those in the community, for not only is it reinforcing but comforting to know that your hard work and persistence has been noticed.

Anyone who’s followed this project knows how much of a pain in the ass its been. A lot of money, a lot of time and a complete disregard for sanity. Harvesting parts well over 2 years in some cases. The multiple series of varying parts. It’s questionable phases and the list goes on. For the last 5+ years this has been one driving force thats kept me moving and somewhat grounded. It may not fit everyones ideals, but it fits mine. Having recently installed the last major ticket item on the car, dare I say, project complete.

Thank you to everyone who’s answered questions, shared knowledge, and followed the journey.

*please forgive the whoring*

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860Bay Area VW & Audi (Facebook)
859#jettagang (Facebook)
858BurnAllTheMk5s (Facebook)
857MKV Volkswagen (Facebook)

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Metal, Wood & Wire – 09.22.015

I can’t believe this project has been going on for 5 years.  The car has went through so many different phases.  A lot of sweat and man-hours.  Endless nights not sleeping.  Thinking.  What can be done to better suit my ideals.  Part numbers everywhere.  Memorized nut, bolt and torx sizes.  It’s really a close bond with a mere machine.  It may not verbalize anything, but it feels like it has a soul.  It breathes and connects with you.  It’s an endless passion in pursuit of a seemingly endless goal.  I was asked if once I do ‘xxx’ will I be done.  And the simple answer is, it will never be finished.  There will always be something that can be changed or restyled.  My tendency to never leave things alone seems to keep me chasing after some sort of greatness or appreciation.  When in reality, the car is great just the way that it is.  It’s one-off.  One of one.  Albeit, its basis is just your standard, run of the mill, Jetta.  It can just as well be done to any other functioning Jetta.  But this one is mine.  And because I see it everyday, I live with it as is.  But every now and then I sort of revel in how eccentric it is.  How rare some its features are.  And it makes me love my car that much more.  But enough of the philosophical car gibberish.

Last time we left off there was talks of a purchased air suspension kit.  Well a few weeks had went by and it was time to pick up the kit.  So I headed to southern California one weekend in August to visit with some friends, who were gracious enough to pick up my kit from the seller.  So we made a weekend of it.  Once I made it back hone, with 3 boxes in tow, I was able to set some time aside and sift through each and every part.  Being the neurotic, clean freak that I am, I cleaned nearly every single piece of the kit, then rewrapped each part and put them all in a rollaway bin.  As far as I know, everything is in great shape.  But lets not forget I’m new to the world of air suspension, so looks may be deceptive.  Lets hope thats not the case.

Anyhow, here are most of the high-level bullet-points for parts:

 

  • Airlift Performance Front struts/bags with damping and camber adjustment
  • Airlift Performance double bellow bags
  • Koni Yellow adjustable rear shocks
  • Accuair E-level VU-4 with ride height sensors and touch pad
  • Dual Viair 444c compressors
  • Dual water traps
  • Dump Mufflers x2
  • 5 gallon Accuair hand polished tank
  • Accuair EXO mounting for tank, manifold, and compressors
  • All power supply wires including 4ga power with inline fuse holder
  • Upgraded Stinger relay
  • Dakota digital round gauge with 5 sensors for corner and tank pressures
  • All the misc fitting needed for install

Not that bad of a kit, right? Once I had the kit in my possession, it was only a matter of time before it would get installed.  From a mechanical side, I could fully handle the suspension install.  Maybe even the trunk component installation.  But by no means could I do the air lines or even attempt to work with the electrical side of it.  I know my strengths and electrical is not one of them.  Enter Sprint Autoworks / #becausebags.  I met James a few years back through a great friend of mine, Rick (the same Rick who fabricated the whole exhaust setup).  I had always marveled at his work and the projects he was apart of, since then.  My goal was that one day, James and company would outfit my car with a full air-ride setup.  Well, after nearly 3 years of wanting and waiting, its soon becoming a reality.  Since making my appointment, I’ve been scrambling to do various things; build up a false floor in my trunk to hide all the components and still have some functionality of a trunk, itself.  Also, relocate and rewire some of my gauges as well add in my new Dakota Digital 5-way air management gauge.  It measures air pressure at all four corners plus tank pressure in full digital readout, as well.

Once I had all of the components sorted out, I was left to a puzzling question: What color should my tank be?  I could leave it polished, but theres not one polished metal item on my car.  I could paint it body color to tie it in.  Or do one better and paint it red to match all of the highlights and accents of the car.  That seemed to be the more fitting avenue.  So I got to my scotchpad and started to scuff the polished aluminum tank.  Once completed, wiped down and degreased, we then coated it in etching primer.  From there it was ready for paint.  The final product was better than I could have imagined!

Looking over, what seemed like, thousands of different trunk setups and viewing how others had completed their management and false floors, I started to get some ideas of what I could do.  Because my spare tire tub had been cut, I ended up having to flip my spare tire, upside-down.  This added about 3.5″ in height.  From there, I measured out the trunk and with the help of my dad, built a box/floor for the trunk with ‘quick-release’ bracing and a pedestal for the tank/compressor setup.  This would be measured out and built out of 1″x6″ soft pine.  Light enough to not load the trunk down with weight, but strong enough for light-duty ‘hauling’ and structural stability of holding the air suspension components in place.  But because it was made from wood, I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving bare wood.  Hard-edged wood and an abundance of wood glue is just so unappealing to be left alone in a car.  Even if it’s not going to be seen all that much.  It doesn’t have to be a built show car trunk but it did need to be somewhat appeasing.  So with that, I then started to sand down all of the sharp-edged corners of all pieces.  Sanded down the excess glue and prepared to coat the box in truck bed liner.  This would provide a black color and some added durability, not that it’s required.

Now that most of the big ticket items were completed, it was time to tend to {read: fixate) on the little things’ air fittings.  I could have easily left the brass fittings as they were.  But my dad asked I wanted to polish them.  I didn’t even know it was a thing.  But after a couple of quick rubs with a terry-cloth and some compound, I was sold.  So I set out on polishing each and brass bit, by hand.  This time using metal polishes.  The outcome was amazing.  The brass, while not a main theme in the car, looks amazing.  So glossy and way more clarity in the metal than when I first received them.

At this point, all that is left is to run the wiring for my gauges and relocate my oil pressure / oil temperature gauges to a new dashpod from NewSouth Performance, who I had previously used for their console pod.  I start to pull apart my dash and within minutes I have wires thrown up all over me.  I despise wiring/electrical.  I’m not very good at it but I will at least make the effort.  I got all new 18g wiring in 6 different colors so I had more than plenty.  All new insulated connectors, just as well.  I talked a few things over and got some points from my buddy Austin who does this kind of stuff for a living.  After being set at ease, it was just a matter of making length cables and doing each lead one by one.  Which ended up taking quite some time, but I stuck it out.  I pulled out all the previous lines I had ran when I first installed the gauges as I wasnt very thrilled with how it came out, but it being my first time, I guess I cant be too hard on myself.  Continuing on, I figured while I was running wires for this all, I might as well run new leads to my oil pressure and oil temperature senders.  Ensuring they are each one single line and hiding/tucking where I could.  Now maybe I could actually clean up my engine bay and show off the beauty that Integrated Engineering created.  Anyhow, once all of the wires were in their place, it was just a matter of putting everything back in place and getting the gauges connected.  Much to my surprise, no problems to report as of yet.

Now all that is left is to finish painting the pedestal and cross braces for the trunk.  Should be done later this week.  Then from there, wait 2 weeks until my car is sent in to have the air suspension installed.  After that, the car should be complete in its entirety.  Can’t believe it, but we’re getting down to single digit percentages of how done the car is.  Never thought I would ever end up this far along or this far invested into a car.  Till next time, stay tuned…

 

799Belated or Early Christmas?

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802The cast and crew

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801When you buy air suspension…

807Measuring a few things

809“I’m just going to test fit my new dashpod”

808How many ‘extra parts’ will i end up with now?

810Shiny!

811Less shiny

813No Shiny

812

814

816

815All done by hand

817Primed

819Laid out quite nice

820More measurements

821

822

823Finally sealed up the rear trunk after about 8 months

824

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826The only thing my CD wallet is good for these days

827

Filing down nail ends

829“Cool day”

828Wood glue everything!

830Current trunk setup int he raw

831“Quick release”

832Hard-edged before

834Hand-sanded soft edges after

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835

836Ready for the bed liner

837Base coat

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3rd (maybe 4th) Final coating.  I dont exactly remember… Paint fumes.

840Brass fittings for air (before)

842

841After being hand polished

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844

845Wires everywhere

846

847Handmade daisy-chain leads

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849“I should redo my sender leads while I’m there”

850Finishing up

 

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Final product – PPG Merlot to match all trim pieces

Read more "Metal, Wood & Wire – 09.22.015"

Just A Pinch of Salt To Taste – 07.27.015

A few edited color/black & white photos from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, UT.

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Read more "Just A Pinch of Salt To Taste – 07.27.015"

A Modders Work Is Never Done – 07.24.015

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…

 

761Well there’s your problem

 

760the life of a Californian… Post-emissions testin

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763Mid-Wet-sanding

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772Time to get those sideskirts on

774Plotting the line of where they are to be placed

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776All tucked in for a good nights rest

777Lookin brand new(ish)

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779IE Intake manifold going back on

780A tale of two ECUs

781New and improved BSH intake charge pipe

782Upside down, but you get the idea

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784Final product with extended breather lines

785This is whats to see on the road about 30mins outside of Reno, NV

786THE Bonneville Salt Flats

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788Rolling through Fishlake National Forest.  Gorgeously paved roads!

789Bug hunt + leg day

790Brotherhood

791Some like it hot

792Some don’t

794Go-go juice

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795Well there’s your problem (again)

796

797A pic from the previous owners setup (Jetta-Sportwagon)

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Read more "A Modders Work Is Never Done – 07.24.015"

… But A Video Leaves You Speechless – 03.13.015

I would be remiss if I didn’t post at least one video of the outcome of the exhaust.  I still have to gather time and proper audio for an in-depth video showcasing it’s range of tone.

Read more "… But A Video Leaves You Speechless – 03.13.015"

Pictures Say A Thousand Words… – 03.12.015

Where to even begin.  Seems to be an on-going trend with this car, this project and life in general.  Lots has went on since the last update.  At the very least I’ve tried to keep the Instagram photos somewhat up to date.  I’ll try to keep this short, but making up for nearly 4 months is going to be anything but brief, especially for me. Before we dive into it, I want to say I could have not have dreamed how wild this journey would have ever turned out to.  A very special thank you to my dad who helped and worked along side me throughout this last year in getting the transformation to where it is today (Sorry to you and mom for coming over and destroying your garage every weekend!).  Another thank you to one of my good friends, Rick at Synergy Motorsports for his relentless effort and unrivaled talents, without him I don’t think the exhaust could have come out half as great as it has.  And of course, my friends, forum and group enthusiasts who’ve never let me steer from completing this challenge/goal, no matter how stacked the odds may have seemed, and always eager to see the results. Without further adieu…

(Be sure to click on the link for the video sample of the finished product)

————— Feel free to jump passed the wall preceding of words —————

November 2014, fresh off the heels of completing a respray and getting the car back together, the grille was not far behind.  Once it was completed, it was on in no time.  Fast forward to around New Years; I had come across a sale ad for front and rear GTi leather seats.  A few bumps and bruises, but a deal I couldn’t pass up.  I arranged a time to pick up.  Turns out, it was the same shop whom I had purchased the grey leatherette seats from the summer prior.  The owner quickly remembered who I was and a bit about my car.  As he made his way out, he couldn’t believe the transformation that had went on with the car.  He was familiar with most of the parts, but from other cars.  I can tell he was taken back just a bit, which was a pretty cool feeling.  He took my old seats and I installed the new (to me) GTi black leather seats.  They now finish off the interior nicely so that it has a nice flow of dark/black with the red accents throughout.

Late January 2015, my buddy Rick hits me up and says “bring your car over next Saturday.”  I clear my schedule and show up to his shop, Synergy Motorsports.  While he usually specializes in GM performance, every now and then, he likes the change of pace with side projects (read: challenges), but I digress.  We quickly get the car on the lift and start removing the old ‘exhaust’ system to make way for the bits… Fresh piping.  A box full of v-band clamps.  Sparks everywhere.  A CNC machine.  You’re typical male bonding for a mechanical Saturday afternoon.  Some time later, when it was easing into the night time, we called it quits for the day.  The exhaust sat at about 75% done.  Quite a heap of progress for one day.  Throughout the coming week, he was able to chip away at a few of the more time consuming bits, without my ‘aid’/banter.  A few days later, it was complete!  We gave it a test sound before we left the shop.  I’ll just say this; my face hurt from laughing at how insane it sounded.  Never would I have expected that sound to come from my car.  Another night in the books and time for food.  I pick it up the next day and for about the next week or so, I don’t think I ever heard my stereo once.  At all RPM ranges it sang.  It sounded so exotic but I still have yet to pin-point just what it sounds similar to.  Needless to say, I left Rick’s shop being anything less than impressed and in awe.

Well now its February and with all the major parts completed, its time to take some pictures.  Got it all washed and waxed and made my way out to a couple locations for some photos.  Unfortunately, the best shooter I had was my phone (LG G3), which isn’t entirely bad.  But it’s still a ways off.  Albeit, the photos will suffice my need and let me showcase the ‘final’ project on here.

This past weekend, I had to finally buckle down and take off the Integrated Engineering intake manifold and ECU so that I can finally make my way for emissions testing, thats now been long overdue.  I also had to swap out the high flow cat as well.  Now that it sits in the most mechanically neutered states, I feel its lost its tone.  Its bite.  It’s voice!  Its so timid and tame now.  So once emissions is passed, it will be a short while before it gets back to being aggressive once again.  The plan is to finally ‘fix’ the intake-charge pipe length for its mount point.   Back story: when Integrated Engineering developed their manifold, they did it under the guise of building their own short-run intake, due to their manifold moving the throttle body.  Being that I love the growl of the BSH intake, there was a bit of a work-around in trimming the charge pipe to fit.  I went into it knowing that it didn’t have the correct fit and finish I wanted, so once I am ready to reinstall the manifold, I will tap on Rick to do some cutting and welding.

In the meantime, I get to babysit my buddies new Fiesta ST.  That thing is highly entertaining, even more so with the COBB Tune and intercooler.  Super compact and darty.  Gobs of power and torque for its tiny package.  Could definitely stand for some audible grunt though.  Anyhow, another car, another time…

 

 

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… But A Video Leaves You Speechless – 03.13.015

 

 

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… But A Video Leaves You Speechless – 03.13.015

Read more "Pictures Say A Thousand Words… – 03.12.015"