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Scope creep: turbo

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blog-0359863001438562788.jpgblog-0359863001438562788.jpgMany of you will have seen an abridged version of this on the 2002 group on Facebook, so apologies for the repetition.

After taking the car to the dyno once the EFI build was finished, I kind of got the bug for more power which is probably no surprise to anyone here. I was somewhat disappointed in the 134rwhp/129tq on ITBs+EFI, and figuring that another dyno session with no substantial changes would only yield modest gains, I decided to stretch myself and go forced induction.

I looked for a bolt-on solution and came to the conclusion that the Century/BAE turbo or DA/Camden supercharger kits out (if I could find one) are several generations behind today’s forced induction technology, and I would likely be more satisfied piecing something together myself. Hey, if I can do EFI myself, turbocharging can’t be that hard - right?

Also, I was/am too emotionally and financially invested to my ITBs to ditch them. It would have been easier to go for a true turbo plenum with single throttle body setup, but that would meant $ wasted on the ITBs. Later in this thread, you might be tempted to think I over-plan, but I refer you back to this part where I went straight for sexy ITBs for my EFI build without considering what I might want to do next.

I compartmentalized the project into discrete, sequential chunks and only purchased the parts necessary to complete that specific chunk. Failure to complete one chunk of work would halt the entire project, but planning always involved at least two chunks ahead. Once I committed to going FI, it was difficult to not immediately splurge on a honking great big turbo. But I know the turbo would only have turned into an object d’art on my mantlepiece if I didn’t plan properly.


  1. pressurized intake
  2. intercooler location
  3. exhaust manifold
  4. coil relocation/upgrade
  5. turbo positioning
  6. plumbing
  7. dyno tuning

I had already decided that it was going to be a “no cut” build meaning no bodywork incisions for routing plumbing of any kind. Couple of reasons:

  • my engine bay had been refreshed just prior to my purchase so looked pretty spiffy without me hacking holes in it
  • I haven’t attempted any body work of any description yet so cutting, welding and any major fabrication is out of scope for now
  • I wanted to either be able to return it to “stock” if desired, or leave that to be a mostly easy choice for the next owner

Phase 1

When I converted to ITBs I had issues with the alternator and clearance for the air filter (see previous blog posts). I surmised I would have the same issue mounting an intake plenum (except that it is not a true plenum) so set about moving the alternator from the traditional 1602/2002 location to that found on 2002Tiis. I wrote that up in a separate post but here it is again for completeness:

I need to make some room up near the inlet manifold by moving the alternator. I saw some posts talking about using the later Tii brackets on a regular 02, but never saw "a recipe" posted, so here is mine. Note that the alternator pictured is a 90A unit from BNR (eBay) with a built in voltage regulator. I don't know whether using an external VR makes this easier or harder as I never tried.

Parts needed:

  • 1x Tii alternator bracket (part # 11141257413)
  • 1x Tii alternator support bracket (part #12311256082)
  • 1x M8 1.25x100mm bolt
  • 1x M8 1.25x90mm bolt
  • 3x Round Spacer, Aluminum, Plain Finish, 5/16" Screw Size, 3/4" OD, 0.315" ID, 3/4" Length
  • 1x XPZ962 (or XPZ0962) v-belt/fan belt from Gates, Goodyear, Contitech, etc.
  • Various other M8 bolts, washers and bushings from your existing alternator bracketry

The round spacers are used to pad the gaps between various components. Re-use your existing bushings and fit them to the new Tii alternator support bracket. You may need to lengthen the wire between your starter and your alternator as mine was only just long enough with the alternator in the new location.

The 90mm bolt which the support bracket attaches to also secures the front timing cover to the block. Best to leave the bolt a little loose, get the alternator into position and secured, and then torque that bolt down last all the while ensuring that it is indeed pressing the timing cover to the block tightly. Use washers between the spacer and timing cover if you need to shim it to you liking, or thinner spacers - whatever your car needs.

See the following thumbnails for detailed pics.





After all that research, I had to move the alternator back to the original position! Read on.

My girlfriend must have thought I was going slightly mad at this point. You know how it is. You obsess over a part (probably one with a large price tag) for weeks, by constantly revisiting the same web pages over and over, comparing specs, but never making a purchase. Lists are drawn up, measurements are taken, and drawings are made. I was like this about the plenum or air intake.

I needed something that would bolt onto my ITBs. I really wanted a sexy carbon fibre one from Reverie Ltd, or the aluminium one from Jenvey, but repeated measurement and kindergarten quality cardboard mockups suggested they would be too big for the space available. Here is where I polled the assembled FAQ brain trust with little success for other ideas. I am surprised no one suggested just going with a E21 or E30 EFI intake system.


After some unsatisfactory communication with Dbilas in Germany I finally ordered their “airbox” designed for Ford Focus and VW 16v ABF engines. Like my EFI air filter, I used silicone hose and t-bolt clamps to mount the plenum on the face of the ITBs. It looks amateurish with all the bolt threads sticking out everywhere, but I am an amateur. Maybe I will revise this mounting in the future for a cleaner look.


My MAT sensor was mounted to the backplate of the air filter on my EFI build so I had to find another location for it. And turbo builds need a fast acting MAT, so I had to purchase a new Bosch open element type. With the new plenum being aluminium, it was easy to drill two appropriately sized holes (one for sensor element, one for bolt securing sensor to plenum) and tap one of them. Hmmm… boost leaks… I should check if those holes air air tight at 18psi...


Phase 2

This is where I discovered that I wasted time relocating the alternator. I did the parts obsessing thing again over intercoolers. For simplicity (avoid plumbing needed for water to air) I wanted an air to air intercooler but I couldn’t find an off the shelf one that was the right dimensions. I would either have had to cut body work (i.e., “gut the nose” of the car) or place the IC on the outside of the car and run piping to it. So, I went for a small heat exchanger and coolant pump behind the grill, and a water to air intercooler in the engine bay. I already had a Spal electric pusher fan mounted in the nose, but I had removed the wiring long ago always meaning to recommission it at some point - it’s a tight fit up there!

The IC stands vertically in the engine bay roughly where the battery once would have been. Many many hours of browsing on plumbing, aquatic and hydroponic sites got me a rudimentary cooling system. I also tapped that IC cooling system to supply the turbo with coolant. I used the radiator filler neck from a sports bike mounted on the inner drivers fender for a remote filler neck for the IC and turbo cooling system. The heat exchanger is a 19-row engine/oil cooler, and the pump is a supercharger Bosch coolant pump used on Mercedes and some Mustangs.





Also shown below is the first and second iterations of the intercooler hoses which were first just hoses and clamps, and looked terrible. I switched to AN fittings for a much cleaner look. Filler cap is from a motorcycle.



Phase 3

I had read a lot about exhaust manifolds at this point. I could go with an ebay special, flip a stock manifold and have an adapter made, look for an old Century/BAE part, or commission one from the various custom guys out there. The more reading I did about the custom ones, the more I thought that the relative expense involved was no guarantee of avoiding manifold failure. I went for a cheap ebay manifold and almost immediately regretted my decision. “Fits 1000x better than the other manifolds” the vendor claims on their ebay ads. If that is true, the “other manifolds” must just simply not fit at all. The holes on the exhaust port flange on the one I purchased needed to be elongated by a good 5mm in places just to get it to fit over the exhaust studs. Anyway, an evening spent removing metal and destroying a drill bit set fixed that. Apparently I was so annoyed by the manifold I didn't take any clear pics of it, but here it is with the header it replaced.


The turbo flange on the manifold was a T3 pattern and I already knew I was going to be purchasing a T25 flanged turbo, but I had already scoped out a T3/T25 adapter… on ebay. You already know where this is headed...

Anyway, phase 3 complete and, from more mockups and measurements, it looked like the little turbo I had in mind (but not yet purchased) would fit without me having cut anything to run intake pipe.

Phase 4

As you may have read, I converted to a coil on plug setup using coils from early 2000’s VW/Audis. It worked really well once I found the right version of the coils, and looked cool in a “that’s unique” kind of way. With the exhaust manifold in place I could see those COPs were no longer going to fit as they stuck out proud of the head a good three inches (reminder: it looked “unique”) and fouled the manifold. My interest had already been sufficiently piqued by reading about the D585/LS2/Yukon coil-near-plug coils on the megasquirt forums that I had purchased four of them, so that’s the route I took.

Not being a fabricator myself, I again turned to my favourite vendor for help. ebay turned up several suppliers who were producing crude brackets for mounting these coils in muscle car conversions, so I bought a set. Being for muscle cars, I got two brackets, with each bracket holding four coils for V8 engines. One bracket is now for sale :)

I found a spot under the exhaust manifold with enough space to mount the coils in the bracket using some universal bendable aluminium brackets left over from mounting a fan. I made up some custom 8mm (Taylor? MSD?) spark plug wires with proper D585 boots. Heat is going to be a concern in this area, so I slipped heat reflective sheathing over as much of the plug wires as I could. I may still have to install some kind of barrier to protect the coils, but I cannot sheath them like the wires as they need cooling too.

The old coils:



The new coils as they arrived (glad I kept them for a few years after I didn't used them and went COP instead):


The new coils:








Phase 5

After another sub-optimal vendor experience (they would not sell me a part unless I discussed it with them in person or by phone. Email was not, in their eyes, a suitable communication medium for this type of consultation despite 99% of my professional communications being via email), I purchased a GT2560R water cooled turbo with a 5-bolt turbine exhaust flange/T25 turbine inlet flange. The ebay special T3/T25 flange adapter was too tall. The turbo compressor housing hit the inner passenger fender and would not mate with the adapter flange. Bugger.

First adapter too tall:


Bits and bobs:



The original adapter didn’t have enough meat on the flanges for it to be machined shorter so back to trawling the interwebs. Found a guy down south who produces all kinds of turbo flange adapters to order including a snazzy T3/T25 one. Purchase made.

F-you, USPS! The new adapter arrived. I was all excited. Oh. Shipping box split open. Only half the adapter present. More hassle, another week wasted getting a replacement, but the vendor was cool and USPS coughed up the insurance.




Second adapter once all the bits are together, plus a height comparison with the first adapter:



The second adapter fitted perfectly with more 1cm clearance between the turbo and inner fender, and more test fittings followed to figure out routing of oil and coolant lines before committing to thread locker.

Another learning moment for me: a T25 5-bolt flange is different to a GT25 5-bolt flange, and an adapter for the former will not fit on the latter without modification. If anyone needs a T25 5-bolt to 3” v-band exhaust adapter….



By now I had all the major system components in place and it was a case of “stringing” them together.

Phase 6

Lots of random stuff in this phase. I needed to run wiring, relays, fuses and switches for the intercooler pump and fan. To do this, I expanded the fuse/relay blocks I had installed for MegaSquirt under the rear seat, and purchased two switches for manually operating the pump and fan. The switches are ‘02 pull switches… for electric choke maybe? I had been running with no center console for years (I like the uncluttered look, and who needs a radio with ITBs?!) so fitted one and got the radio working again. The pull switches are located either side of the ashtray on the console fascia.

I have temporarily mounted a VDO Vision vacuum/boost gauge in a bracket hanging under the dash. It’s in a perfect position to NOT be able to see it while driving. I will have to figure out a more permanent and more visible solution, perhaps involving the center console again. Emails to Parker Performance to that end went unanswered after an initial response.

Before without the console:



Console fitted with boost gauge (will I ever mount it properly?) and pull switches:




I knew enough not to purchase a “complete universal turbo kit” off ebay, or even one described as being for an M10/’02, but I did succumb to a universal 2.5” piping kit and immediately spent the same amount all over again on specific pieces to finish the job. Lots of 2.5” pipe left over if anyone is interested. See a theme here?

The air filter sits on the “cold” side of the engine bay and runs up over the radiator (not ideal) to the compressor inlet. The compressor outlet is routed down the inner fender and under the engine roughly inline with the bottom of the oil pan, and then turns vertically to connect to the vertical intercooler. Exhaust is routed via a 3” stainless pipe, with o2 sensor mounted on it, that connects via a downpipe and reducer to a 2.5” IE stainless exhaust.

The BOV is located on the piping under the engine, tucked up by the coils. I messed up the BOV spring selection and got one way stiffer than I needed. I knew I needed to know vacuum at idle instead of boost PSI, but as the car was not running I couldn’t tell what inHg it pulled so googled, guess and got it wrong. Another duplicate purchase.

A local one-man-band exhaust shop fabricated the downpipe and made the join to the existing exhaust. I had planned to tow it to him on a U-Haul dolly, drop it off and pick it up, but my German SUV tow rig had other ideas. U-haul said my trailer light module was kaput and refused to rent me the dolly. So, the night before the (long awaited) exhaust appointment, I had to rapidly get some outstanding issues resolved so the car was able to move under it’s own momentum. I gingerly drove it (you know the feeling) the two miles or so to the shop, hazards flashing, in the ditch, with a sign attached to hopefully placate any passing police. Nothing burst into flames but it’s loud with an open pipe. And that turbine whines like a MFer with an open pipe. Made it to the shop with the smell of newly heated fresh components permeating the cabin. Only stopped twice to look for flames!








The manual boost controller is mounted (in)conveniently to the compressor housing via a bracket. I will need to relocate it due to potential heat problems and it’s damn difficult to access in its current location. Purchased and installed a vacuum manifold, then tidily as possible ran lines to MAP sensor (I was only running an AN tune before), boost gauge and BOV. Switched out the 29lb/hr fuel injectors for some 60lb’ers which is probably overkill, but drivability doesn’t seem to have suffered. Had a leak from one of the injectors that was not seated properly and the dire warnings of petrol leaking at 43psi were immediately foremost in my mind. Easy fix though.


Cooling and oiling the turbo was a real pain. Someone had previously galled the threads on the oil pressure sensor port on the distributor house, so I had to wrap plumbing tape (I know, I know… I am shamed) around the threads of an adapter I bought to fit in that port. Leak stopped, but it bugs me knowing there is a stripped thread waiting for me or, worse, the next owner. The adapter relocates the oil pressure sensor and provides an NTP port for “expansion”, in this case the oil feed to the turbo. Oil return was a bitch too. I eventually drilled and tapped a hole in the front timing cover after much deliberation. Not wanting to have a soft porous hose after a few months use, I searched high and low for hose suitable for the oil return before finding something somewhere with the right specs.



Cooling systems are simple right? Closed system, pump, blah, blah - that’s it. No air locks. The turbo coolant inlet is at about the same height as the coolant filler neck, and the coolant supply hose runs ever so slightly uphill meaning an air pocket is trapped where it is least welcome - at the turbo housing. With much rocking of the car, squeezing of hoses, and jacking the car up at acute angles (oh, the neighbourhood car guys loved that sight) I could get the air out, but I knew at some point I would have to drain/refill the system and didn’t want that hassle again. I place a fitting in-line in the coolant supply hose that allows me to unscrew a port at the highest point in the system (besides the filler neck) to bleed off air that otherwise would be trapped.


One thing I never fully addressed in my MegaSquirt build was driving the stock tachometer. Tried every home brewed remedy out there I could find - diodes, resistors, lucky rabbits feet and four leafed clover of various specs soldered together but none of them worked with my COP set up. North Hollywood Speedo agreed to convert my existing tach to work with the MegaSquirt output. It was partially successful. Yes, my tach needle moves, but only in some vague approximation of the true RPM value. I call it my lazy tach. It bugs me.




Phase 7

Before I got it all buttoned up, I made an appointment with Shane at DB Performance in Rogers, MN to do the tuning on their dyno. They did the EFI tune for me and were great to work with. There were still lots of things to straighten out before dyno day #2 like getting it to run on a basic speed density tune. Even on the basic tune I could tell power was up!

I didn't bother with a tow dolly this time and drove to the dyno. Discussed my goals with Shane: reliable 200rwhp, max 13PSI (stock internal, stock head gasket), street drivability. She got strapped in and I just hung around feeling useless.


The results were disappointing. 175rwhp and 172tq.



You can see that the PSI line in the graph above tapers off. Shane called me over after a few hours to discuss the problem, it wouldn't hold boost. We went over several causes (exhaust too restrictive, etc.). I volunteered up "boost leaks?". Shane asked "You did check for boost leaks, right?". Sheepishly, I did not. We pressurized the intake and listened to many, many leaks noisily discharge precious boost. His next customer was already outside and I wasn't about to be making gaskets out of my underpants at $150/hour still strapped to the dyno, so we called it quits for the day. Leaks I found:

  • Throttle bodies to intake manifold
  • Shorty, straight air horns to throttle bodies
  • Vacuum hose
  • Silicone coupling hose
  • Throttle body shaft seals

I have fixed all the leaks but the ITB shaft seals. Another reason I should have ditched the ITBs.

I also had a slight hesitation when building boost on hard acceleration. I rectified that by regapping the plugs down from 0.37 to .025. I had forgotten to do that prior to dyno day. So much for my planning.


It's running and driving well on the 175rwhp tune with plenty of power. It's a blast to drive. Had another issue crop up after 600 miles of driving since putting the turbo on. Doing a Sunday drive when I hear some debris get kicked up by my wheels and clatter along the underside of the chassis. No biggie. Happens again a few miles later. Wtf? And again! Nurse it home. Guibo. Must have misaligned the trans/drive shaft, shredded the guibo, and chunks of it or the bolts are flying off. Get it home and up on ramps. Guibo looks brand new! Must have been debris after all.

Drive it to the office. Meet girlfriend after work. More clattering debris episodes. Damn, these tyres are sticky! Oh, my exhaust sounds a bit funny all of a sudden? Nurse it back to the girlfriends garage. No need for ramps this time. Of the five studs and nuts holding the exhaust onto the turbine, only two studs and one nut are left. And the only nut left is the one that is held captive by the exhaust output adapter that has low clearance and basically holds the nut in place. So, there was debris on the road, and I left it there - my studs and nuts.


High temp loctite and we're up and running again. I need to book a follow up dyno session to get the magic 200 number.

Next issue was the waste gate actuator being too close to the fender. The 8mm of clearance wasn't enough and sufficient contact was made occasionally when running to remove some paint. I needed a thinner T25/T3 flange adapter which would bring the turbo closer to the manifold and increase the gap. Ordered another adapter (my third flange adapter!) from Hong Kong on eBay which was a single piece item (last adapter was two piece) which came with both gaskets in copper. Quality and fit was good but one of the copper gaskets blew out (!?) on the first run.




After some sage advice from my uncle back in New Zealand who has a bit of auto racing history and a lot of auto mechanic history, I reverted to regular gaskets, switched to copper coated exhaust nuts (brass wouldn't hold) and it has been rock solid ever since. I have done 1,200 with the turbo and 500 on the current config which seems to be holding together very well.

She even gets me to work rapidly...


...and the grandkids like to play in the "funny little car":





From first fire to dyno day

blog-0390631001419399612.jpgblog-0390631001419399612.jpgblog-0390631001419399612.jpgblog-0390631001419399612.jpgblog-0390631001419399612.jpgblog-0390631001419399612.jpgblog-0390631001419399612.jpgI spent most of 2014 installing the engine and trans, finishing and fine tuning the Megasquirt installation, and a bunch of other miscellaneous tasks to get it ready to turn the key for the first time. Also a million and one other "while I'm there" jobs like LED bulbs for the dash, securing the oversize spare wheel, fixing the hood support, etc., etc.,...

Then it was off to a local dyno shop for tuning with some great results for a first effort.

Installing Engine







The part I dislike the most. It's tedious and I suck at it. Wiring errors and "on the job learning" is perhaps the thing that slowed me down the most. And because I suck at it, it's all the more rewarding when I do get it right and stuff works as it should. The first pic is what caused me most grief - it's the VR sensor. I triple checked I had it wired up correctly, comparing dozens of posts online, and I still didn't. Yes, those are crimps for speed of mock up assembly, and yes they were insulated before use.



Megasquirt/TunerStudio would show cranking with the VR sensor polarity reversed, but never get a clean tach signal. I spent days trying to figure out why it would crank but not fire until I ripped it all apart and went back through it for a second time and flipped the polarity for giggles. Et voila. First fire.





I should add that at this point I changed course several times about how to fire the coil(s) and what coil(s) to use. I was originally going to use EDIS and a DIYAutotune four-post coil. See the EDIS and four plug wires in these early pictures.




...then I dropped EDIS and got the MS3X daughter card to fire smart coils directly for a cleaner install (less under the hood) and contemplated the "Yukon" LS coils.


There were no easy/clean ways to mount the Yukon coils with the stock GM bracket, and I don't have access to a shop to create my own, and there were none on the aftermarket that were suitable, so I started looking at coil on plugs with ignitors (aka "smart coils"). The VAG COP of choice seems the be the ones from early to mid VW Golfs and Jettas. Plenty of information out there in the Megasquirt documentation and forums about what to look for and how to wire them up. Be aware though that the part number revisions given in the documentation did not guarantee compatibility with Megasquirt. I burned out several coils before I learned that the only real check was to measure resistance across pins 2 &3... just like the documentation says to do ;-)

I did find it necessary to trim about 1cm off the lower part of the metal shroud on the coils (trim it back level with bottom of the rubber insulation beneath the metal shroud) to get a good fit on the top of the plugs. They are regular plugs for our cars. Can't remember which type exactly, except they are of the resistor variety with the bulbous tops instead of the threaded posts for connecting to the spark plug wires.





You can see the VAG COPs fitted and wired up in this pic.


So that's where the ignition landed. VR sensor feeding tach to MS, MS firing the VAG COPs directly using the MS3X daughter card. At this point It was time to fire it up.


Air intake

Due to limited room, I had to do some creative doodling about air filtration.



I bought some stubby air horns from a VW shop that are straight with no radius (so they aren't really air horns at all), some angled silicone hose, and a Ram Air filter and base plate. Here is one of the stubbies in situ:


Bolted them all together in the following order (except the thick spacer next to the real air horn - that was not needed):


I ended up with the following contraption:




With the thick spacer removed and all four attached with the actual filter, this is what it ended up like:







The hoses are now firmly secured using stainless t-bolt bands (not shown in the mock ups). I ran the car with no hood for several weeks because I was still spending a lot of time working under there tweaking stuff. When I reinstalled the hood, I found one of the support channels attached to the underside of the hood interfered with the filter when the hood was latched closed, so I had to trim another 2cm off the hose to lower the height of the filter.

Another problem, which I have yet to solve, is that the filter is too high for the strut bar I bought. If I don't fix the issue, look for the strut bar in the classifieds!


Throttle Cable

My first throttle mechanism was bodged together from whatever materials I could find in my garage plus some barrel adjusters from eBay and it was not pretty. It used the cable supplied with the Jenvey ITBs but the cable was incredibly sticky inside the outer sheath which made throttle modulation difficult. I think the first pic shows a piece of old carb linkage being recycled - like I said, it was a case of making do.




It worked well enough for a few weeks before two things happened:

  • the gas pedal fell off while driving
  • the throttle cable snapped

The "evil nubs" had not yet given up so I ordered a new pedal and a Lokar throttle cable kit. No pics of the new cable set up.

First drive

Here it is with a basic Megasquirt tune. There will still any things to complete before it was ready for the road.


Once it was ready, I took it out for it's maiden voyage in the computer age.


Wiring Revisited

The Megasquirt documentation is insistent on proper grounds. Here's what happens if you (inadvertently) get it wrong.


Again, I thought I had done it correctly, but the engine kept cutting out on drives over say 15 minutes. I would be powering along nicely, or just cruise steadily and then silence. RPMs would drop, no power, then nothing. Glide to the side of the road, switch the ignition off, switch the ignition back on again and it would instantly fire back up as if nothing had happened. Megasquirt logging several of these events showed the ECU saw voltage drop from +13.7V to 6V then nothing. Checking the relay/fuse holder and I saw the melted goey mess that used to be a fuse. Resistance was causing significant heat build up. Begin complete re-wire number three!

Hood Support

I broke the passenger side weld on the hood support torsion bar when removing the hood back in 2012, and my friend Kenny finally dusted off his gear for me.



Dyno day

While I had been able to get it to the point where it was drivable, I wanted an expert to take a look and tune it. My goals were twofold:

  • ensure a professional tunes it safely so I don't break anything with my basic tune
  • "more POWWWWAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!" (in your best Clarkson voice)

Got her all strapped in for her big day.



In the following videos, I am the very nervous looking guy in blue. Having never heard an M10 at full tilt (well, almost) from a few feet away, it was quite the experience for me. We agreed on an upper limit of 6400 RPMs but it sure sounded like it was going to grenade at about 6000. The operator didn't bat an eye though. One of the early dyno runs:


Nearing the end of the day:


The end result was a good 134rwhp (150ish at the crank?) and 129TQ with a really flat curve.


We finished up at about 7pm and the dyno operator, being the consummate salesman, said that there are two issues I need to fix and to "bring it back for another session, there's more in there!" The two issues (O2 sensor reading low, erratic CLT reading) have both since been fixed.

The Future

I tried most of the home brewed methods of getting the stock tach to work with Megasquirt and the COPs and gave up. The tach is now with North Hollywood Speedometers to be fitted with a custom PCB that will be driven directly by Megasquirt's tach output.

There may be forced induction in my future. There, I said it. I committed that thought to paper. It must be, like the EFI build, a "no cut" FI build though. I do not want to gut the front of the car or otherwise change the body work. Yes, that will force compromises, and I am absolutely ok with that. Here's my though process, and a failure on any one step below will cause the whole FI plan to be dropped:

  1. Move the alternator to the Tii position to make room for an airbox that can be pressurized
  2. Find an air box that will fit without moving the booster, etc.
  3. Find a place to mount an intercooler without cutting
  4. Find a turbo manifold and turbo that fits without cutting
  5. Run intake tubes everywhere

I am at this point today:




..and waiting for a XPZ962 fan belt to be delivered for Christmas.


Jenvey Itbs And Megasquirt

blog-0096479001391372074.jpgblog-0096479001391372074.jpgblog-0096479001391372074.jpgblog-0096479001391372074.jpgblog-0096479001391372074.jpgblog-0096479001391372074.jpgblog-0096479001391372074.jpgThis sub-project was a case of "because it's there". I'm not a seasoned mechanic by any means so this was definitely a challenge for me, but that was half the fun. I know which is the business end of a spanner/wrench, but this was a major escalation in terms of goals. I learnt a lot in the process, and made mistakes. It has been very satisfying to pull it all together.

It started as a complete front suspension and steering rebuild, and snowballed from there. As I was dropping the subframe anyway, I decided the motor and trans would come out too for a cosmetic clean up. The dual DCOE carbs were leaking, so I was going to rebuild them too. Then I started reading about everyone else's EFI conversions, particularly this one:


Mmmmm. Jenvey. So shiny. So purposeful looking. Throw in better MPG, increased tunability and more power. Hell, why not do Jenvey ITBs and Megasquirt "while I'm in there". I could get rid of the pod filters too which always annoyed me, and install some other air filter system.

Here is what was addressed in this project:

  • Convert from twin DCOEs to Jenvey ITBs
  • Install Megasquirt and associated sensors: coolant and air temp, MAP, TPS, O2
  • Convert from Crane Fireball XR3000 ignition to crank fired EDIS ignition
  • Run hard fuel lines including a return
  • Replace the Carter external electric fuel pump with an in tank unit
  • Install a fuel pressure regulator
  • Install a large capacity fuel filter
  • Replace ball joints
  • Replace tie rods
  • Replace center link
  • Replace steering disc
  • Replace engine mounts
  • Replace strut top bearings
  • New coil, spark plugs and plug wires
  • Replace steering idler arm bushing (total b!tch of a project in itself)
  • Replace soft clutch line with a stainless steel line
  • Replace transmission mount
  • Rebuilt shifter platform
  • Install missing shift foam ring
  • Rehang exhaust and finish exhaust support bracket properly
  • Weld in subframe reinforcement for engine mount
  • Re-wire Hella driving lights with a proper fuse and relay arrangement
  • Re-wire electric fan to be controlled by Megasquirt
  • Install higher output alternator to support EFI/Megasquirt
  • Remove voltage regulator
  • Install new starter
  • Clean up engine bay wiring and re-wrap it
  • Paint the oil pan, valve cover, intake manifold, subframe, strut housings, water neck, shifter platform, and pulley
  • Clean the engine and transmission
  • Install missing flywheel inspection cover
  • Figure out a more effective and visually pleasing air filter
  • Fit front strut brace

This was the starting point:


I took the car off the road and dropped the engine and transmission in the autumn of 2012, and started accumulating parts...


...and then promptly lost motivation. Didn't really make any progress through the summer of 2013 but got reinvigorated after going on the "Fall Tour" with the other Minnesota 02ers. I had to drive my Porsche that day, and it was a sad day.


Once I got back into it, cleaning was slow and labourious, so I made the most of it with frequent refreshments:


Test fitting the new 95AMP alternator from BNR:


Prior to this project the engine always rocked violently which was disconcerting. Engine mounted were standard rubber units, and have been replaced with urethane. I did find one of the mounting brackets had snapped, so that was replaced also:


I compartmentalized the project, and concentrated on the subframe, steering and suspension first. Here is how it looked when it came off the car:





Reassembly was pretty straightforward except for the steering idler arm bushing. Another "jigsaw" pic:


Although there were no cracks, I reinforced the subframe:


Everything was either brand new or blasted and powder coated:



It's an early car so the blue plastic steering idler arm bushings available today do not fit (too fat). W&N claimed to have the right part for the early cars, but when they arrive from Germany the diameter was correct but the length was too long.

W&N bushings (expensive and not the right size!):



Note one of the new style blue bushings bashed into place, since removed:


I dug around in my spares and found some urethane bushings that were a close fit so it looked at the manufacturers website to see what other sizes they had:


...and I found these on sale for $10:


...and they fit like a glove:



Very satisfying the have it all freshened up:






Then I moved on to the ITBs and Megasquirt.

I spent a small fortune at Jenvey (actually through the very helpful people at Burton Power - a must see website for any fans of Euro-Ford products) on the following:

  • ITBs
  • TPS
  • TPS connector
  • Throttle linkage
  • Throttle linkage bracket
  • Air horns x4
  • Vacuum manifold and hose
  • Fuel rail
  • Fuel pressure regulator
  • Air horn spacers

Instead of getting ITBs the same length as the DCOEs, I got the 91mm length ITBs to give me more room between the end of the ITBs and the brake booster:


What about the reduced intake runner length? Well, I hope to solve that with my air filter set up. More on that later. I looked at many many filter options from Reverie, Pipercross, ITG, etc., but none really met my needs. The new alternator is deeper than the old one and the proximity of the built in voltage regulator to the end of the ITBs doesn't allow you to fit a filter baseplate to the end of the ITBs. I considered running mesh filters on the air horns once I found some in the right size (59mm diameter) but it can get dusty around here in the summer.

These are the ITBs, with the fuel rail yet to be cut to size, and also with standard size injectors.





Some idiot who seems pleased with his new toys:


Once fitted, I wasn't happy about the mating surface between the ITBs and the intake manifolds, so I found some appropriately sized DCOE pattern spacers that also had o-rings built in. See them in this test fitting:


Also note the use of pico sized injectors to ensure the fuel rail does not protrude beyond the end of the ITBs. This was so I could use a Pipercross PX600 baseplate, but notice the very tight space between the voltage regulator and the intake on cylinder #1.


Spacers can be seen better in this shot:


Here is the toothed wheel on the crank with the sensor test fitted:


Out of pure vanity I wanted the throttle control to be under the ITBs, and Jenvey supplied a very versatile unit. Unfortunately it was too deep and interfered with the original starter, so I had to buy a new smaller starter to get it to all fit under there:




At this point, the engine was petty much ready to back in. I mated the engine and trans to the subframe:






Much more progress has been made than shown here, but I will save that for a later post.


My Overdue 1600-2!

blog-0348309001391367621.jpgblog-0348309001391367621.jpgblog-0348309001391367621.jpgblog-0348309001391367621.jpgblog-0348309001391367621.jpgblog-0348309001391367621.jpgblog-0348309001391367621.jpgOver the 2010-11 winter, I took care of a few bits and pieces on the rear end but never updated this blog. I did a complete tear down/paint/rebuild of the rear subframe - every nut, bolt, hard & soft brake line, bearing, and bushing replaced. Switched from E21 rear drums to disc brakes too. The improvement in the handling of the car was astounding, and so was the reduction in clanking and banging noises from worn out bushings. I wish I had tackled this job much, much sooner.

Other projects completed but not shown below:

  • Replaced Pertonix with a Crane Fireball ignition
  • Recommissioned the windscreen washer system
  • Swapped out the black plastic bodied Hella 500 driving lights for some chromed units
  • Replaced the Carter electric fuel pump

This is how the rear end looked before:


...and after:



I call this picture "the jigsaw":


Overhauled the diff, replaced output bearings and seals. It was already beginning to whine at this point, so an LSD upgrade was planned for the future:



Installed IE's sway bar kit:




Rear bearings got some love:


Also upgraded the front brakes to aluminium Brembos, vented rotors, E21 hubs and stainless lines:








Rear brakes:









My Panasports wouldn't clear the rear calipers, so I had to get some Rotas. The supplier appeared to have some difficulty picking the wheel order, but eventually got that sorted out:


Fitted a full stainless exhaust from IE to match the header fitted earlier:





She went back on the road in the spring of 2011 for a successful driving season (i.e. none of the work I did failed).


My Overdue 1600-2!

blog-0701014001391267547.jpgblog-0701014001391267547.jpgblog-0701014001391267547.jpgblog-0701014001391267547.jpgblog-0701014001391267547.jpgblog-0701014001391267547.jpgblog-0701014001391267547.jpgEdit: I have moved this over from the archive section. This post was originally from December 2010, but I thought it was worth keeping. I found it very interesting to go back over my original plans for the car and see how they have changed. Will post some current updates shortly.


This build thread is long overdue, but I've been too busy enjoying the car over the summer to "waste time" writing about it! Now she's in hibernation for the winter (I live in MN, USA) I have a bit more spare time and have started to do some more major repairs.

I was an avid FAQ reader for about a year before buying her, spending time researching and learning, and waiting for the right car to come up. I specifically wanted an early car in great condition and the wait paid off.

She's a polaris 1600-2, built for the US market on 12/17/1968, but registered as a '69 with the DMV. Spent the majority of her life in CA, before moving later in life to OH, MD and CT, and is no stranger to the FAQ. She's in very good shape body-wise, virtually rust free, and looks to have been well cared for for most of her life. She's not concours by any stretch, but in great condition with some nicely chosen mods for drivability. PO had spent both time and money working out some kinks, particularly an overheating issue and an engine/trans out engine bay freshening by the nice chaps at SCR in CT while the Korman engine was fitted.

Stewardship passed from another FAQer, Brian (elementalmf) to me after he dropped her off at the DAS shipping terminal in CT on 1/30/2010. It took over two weeks for her to make it to MN, and it was an anxious two weeks for me. The shipping by DAS, although protracted, went without a hitch or any drama.

Specs when I received here:

  • Korman stage 1 engine
  • 2 liter
  • 320i block
  • Piano top pistons
  • 1.8i head
  • Head ported and polished
  • Ireland Engineering 292 cam
  • Bosch black coil, ignition wires and plugs
  • Dual Weber 40DCOE (Italian)
  • Carter GP60504 electric fuel pump (30GPH @ 4PSI)
  • Custom front light bar by SCR (front bumper delete)
  • Hella Comet 500 driving lights
  • Euro turn signals
  • Bilstein Sport shocks (front only)
  • Eibach springs
  • 14x6 Panasport Superlights
  • Battery relocated to trunk
  • TEP rear strut brace and battery holder
  • Aftermarket high visibility LED brake light
  • LED brake light bulbs
  • Thermostatically controlled auxiliary electric "pusher" fan, with relay and fuse
  • Ireland Engineering aluminum radiator
  • Tinted windows
  • Momo steering wheel
  • Momo gear shift knob
  • Engine bay refurbishment recently performed by SCR (engine/transmission removed)
  • Getrag 245 5-speed transmission
  • Lightened Korman flywheel
  • Recaro seats
  • Instrument cluster clock replaced with tachometer
  • 3:64 diff (open) to replace long-neck original
  • Rolled front fenders
  • 250MM rear brake upgrade

Although not perfect, I've had many months of virtually trouble free motoring. She's used for pleasure driving and the occasional trip to work. The trouble is I seem to do A LOT of pleasure driving now! Small issues to date include:

  • While tidying engine bay of loose wires I removed a fried, crispy and clearly useless wire which happened to be the alternator ground. She ran for maybe another 200 miles before the battery gave out and I realized my mistake. Easy fix.
  • The speedo cable was snagging on a frosty morning, bouncing the speedo needle so much it snapped off. Fiddly fix.
  • Only major flaw found so far was one of the ball joints being held on by one bolt instead of three (see pic).

Here's what I've done:

  • Door lock mechanism refurb (grommets, corn kernels, lube, etc)
  • 185/60R-14 Dunlop Direzza Sport Z1
  • Hawk street/sport front pads
  • Replaced front wheel bearings
  • Some new trim, window winders, rear license plate lamps, etc
  • Wheels refinished in body colour with polished lip
  • Installed Ireland Engineering race/street step header
  • Replaced rear shocks
  • Installed 3-point retractable seat belts
  • Installed missing windscreen washer system
  • Swapped Hella Comet 500's for chrome Hella 160's
  • Replaced electric fuel pump
  • Removed exterior decals (sorry Brian!)
  • ...and replaced the missing ball joint bolts

She is currently looking rather forlorn in the garage, arse in the air sitting on the proverbial piece of 4x4 with no rear drive train/subframe. The maintenance project over the winter includes (primarily thanks to IE's black Friday sale):

  • Subframe/trailing arms/output shafts/diff blast and paint
  • Replace all rear subframe and suspension bushings with OE/urethane mix
  • Replace differential seals
  • Ireland Engineering Brembo aluminum single line front BBK
  • Ireland Engineering rear disk conversion
  • Ireland Engineering front/rear sway bars
  • Ireland Engineering stainless exhaust
  • Replace front strut mounts

2011 will also see the following:

  • Overhaul of carbs
  • ITG air filter or similar (I hate the look of the booster bangin' pod filters)
  • Relocate electric fuel pump to rear, install relay and inertia cutoff switch (and fuel pressure gauge?)
  • Install relays for driving lights, dual Hella horns to replace the single anemic OE Bosch unit, eventual H4s
  • Replace all front bushings with OE/urethane mix
  • Replace door seals
  • Door panel refurb (Aardvark's board/mylar) and maybe other interior fixes
  • Install voltmeter and oil temp/pressure gauges

Beyond paint and renewing trim the exterior won’t be changing as I love the look already. As you can see, not much effort being put into extra HP in this round of repairs, but that's ok for now as I'm in it for the long haul. In fact, by replacing the red painted existing calipers with a front BBK, I think I'm actually losing HP... ;) Go faster mods will happen in good time, but for now it’s all about reliability, safety, and fixing 42 years (birthday today!) of rubber rot.

She arrived with a trunk full of parts, neatly boxed:


Old straight-through exhaust coming off:


Ireland header going on:


Korman blue:


Ah, fresh paint!




Current interior, not too shabby, driver quality:



New interior panels to go in in 2011:


New bearings:


This can't be safe...


New rear shocks:




Speedo repair:


Red caliper... instant HP gain:


42 years of rubber rot:



Dropped rear subframe:


Arse in the air:




The exterior pics are from the PO in '09 as I have not taken any yet, but the grimy pics are all mine. Hope you enjoy the thread and I look forward, someday, to being able to maybe contribute to the FAQ instead of being just consumer all your experience and wisdom!