Thanks for dropping by my blog.

Just thought I chuck in a link here for those that love what my Golf is about, and why I'm so obsessively into it.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Drift Australia

Yes, a bit unrelated to the Golf cause, but after posting about Team Peer and the drifting culture in Australia, I thought it deserved its own post. Drifting, in my opinion, is as much of a culture and lifestyle as driving a VW. Both has its own quirks and derivatives that I guess makes them unique in the automobile scene. They come from different parts of the world, but are actually quite similar in many ways (albeit due to different reasons). Both employ and love stretching tyres. Both poke their wheels as if they were rollerskates. Both use zipties as if they hold the car together. Both have a taste in rare wheels. Both explore different looks by using parts of different vehicles. However, the most important similarity that stood out to me was that they both are largely unknown and not part of the major modifying scene of Australia. I've always tend to go for different things that are not popular to the norm, and it was that appeal that led me to follow both cultures and lifestyles. I've had thoughts of learning how to drift before, and although I'm not pushing it aside, VW is my passion now and it is the VAG scene that I want to help introduce to Australia.

Anyway, here's Drift Australia's YouTube account - they have loads of videos of the latest drifting competitions being held in Australia.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Fixes - Part Four (+ update)

I ended up spending all Thursday at Matt's workshop. Louis was kind enough to drive me down as he was heading there himself to have his car fitted with H&R coilovers - and fuck, they go lowww. He has about 2 inches of thread left on the coilovers and he's already tucking tyre. However they're not damper adjustable (as claimed by Louis) and their currently pretty damn stiff. The strut body was bloody thick as too.

Anyway, I ended up taking out the crank angle sensor out of the wrecked Mk3 myself. I figured Matt will be busy and can't be fucked doing it so I might as well do it myself so I'll have some confidence replacing the sensor on my car. The process was straight forward, but is damn long for what I was after... it was a damn wire! Screwed in by an Allen key, it can only be taken off with the transmission mount (front engine mount) out of the way :@

Come Sunday, I managed to fit the new sensor on without any major hitches. I finished with a small bolt and washer lying around that I don't know which part of the car that it belonged to, but it should be OK :P Here's the comparison between the two:

I taped up the one from the wrecked car as I do not want to replace it ever again. The sensor wire were originally only wrapped by rubber insulation which has naturally cracked under the immense heat it's exposed to when situated so close to the engine and transmission housing. I managed to tape up about half of the sensor wire of the old one before it finally died on me, but this was basically how it looked throughout the length of it:

Some nasty shit right there, with bare wires exposed and vulnerable to shorting out and gaining very high resistance with the lack of insulation in some parts. I'm guessing this was why the car ran like shit when it was only warm.

I also bought a dremel bit to clean my spark plugs which have been fouled yet again due to the weird signals sent to the ECU when the sensor was fucking up. Once everything was in, the car started like a dream - honestly it felt like a new car to me haha. Gave it a quick drive with both the bumpers off as I'm still doing the custom bodywork :) More on that later.

So finally all the repairs are done. With many other sensors and electronical components replaced (see previous posts), I am definitely not expecting the car to fuck up on me again. Fingers crossed. Now, finally on to the exciting bit...


So, for $300 I ended up buying the Work Equips :) Louis was kind enough to let me store them at his place for the time being - he has helped me out a lot the past few weeks and I'm very grateful for that! My plan now is to take them back home when the BBS RS are on the car, so I can restore them. I'm heading towards the polished path for the Equips, and only spending money on new centrecaps if I can't get them looking good again. Once they're done (hopefully by the Nats next year), I'll have the BBS RS refurbished and re-done in a different way :)

A week later after visiting UpGarage for the Equips, Kevin (my friend's brother's friend, haha), his Lexus SC400 and I met up to take another trip down there for a set of 18" Enkei wheels he fancied. He let me drive it down and wow, what a cruiser. Very different to how the Golf drives. Anyway, the Enkeis were in good condition with your usual wear but they were 3-piece, 9" wide, and had some decent tyres - Yoko Advans. He snapped them up for $950 and to my surprise actually looked SICK. They suit the car perfectly in my eyes and are the best looking 18's I've set my eyes on. There's a JDM flavour to them - that said, I don't think they would work as well on a VAG vehicle, though I can be wrong. Looks were deceiving as far as their website pics are concerned; they had a classic race look to it. They're bloody wide too - they were poking in the front even on the Lexus. Kevin had his guards rolled while he was down there - $40/guard. Not too bad I think, and they did it properly with a fender roller, not the ghetto hammer. Not that there's anything wrong with using the hammer, provided that it's a professional panel beater that's handling it. I think I'll be taking the Golf down some time soon for its own fender rolling. Anyway, here's the Enkei wheels:

Yeah, he needs to lower it haha.

Speaking of UpGarage, had a pretty cool experience down there. When Kevin and I were test-fitting the Enkeis, Team Peer dropped in with their Onevia (S13 with a 180SX front) drift car. Part of the team were there: Darren Appleton, Leighton Fine (who complimented the Lexus with its new wheels) and their pit team. I was (still is?) a fan of drifting and have followed it religiously after watching the Initial D series. Since owning a VW though, I've forgotten all about it, but it's interesting to see that there are very different cultures within the car-modifying lifestyle.

Back to the Golf - after a month of thinking, I pushed the trigger and now have a set of GC coilover sleeves with 300 lb/250 lb F/R springs being sent over to me. The shipment was sent last Monday so it should be arriving some time late this week hopefully. It came out to be ~$500AUD. If the Koni springs will sell for ~$250, the GC kit will turn out to be a great value-for-money upgrade. Plans for suspension later will be a rear sway bar from Neuspeed (undecided between the 25mm or 28mm). I'm just gonna give myself some time before upgrading again.

Finally, I have some adapters on the way :) Thanks to Mike Templeton of SubtileCommunication, I'll be able to rock my BBS RS and Equips soon. I've chosen AdaptItUSA as their prices were the cheapest by far. They are 5x100 --> 5x114.3 with studs pressed out, two separate pairs being 1" (25 mm) and 1.3" (33 mm) thick and come with lugs. Made with 6061-T6 billet aircraft aluminium and recommended by Vortexers, I'm confident they will last a long time without breakage. They are being sent to Mike as we speak, and soon he will be able to give me a quote on shipping internationally. In due time, in due time!

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Out with the old, in with the new?

So in preparation for a VR6, I parted some of the stuff I had on AEH11E. These included the badgeless grille and the BBS RS, just to name a few. Believe it or not they were the bigger things on my car, and for the foreigners reading my blog, they're pretty hard to come by down under.

In the last post I was saying how I'm not going for the VR anymore... which means I'm free to do what I want with the 2.sl0w again. I'm basically going down the same route I went a few months ago, as I really liked the look of it. I'm in the garage working on another custom badgeless grille (3-slat) but this time I'm actually welding the parts rather than crudely bondo-ing. It started cracking within a few weeks. Anyway, I'm debating whether to colour-code the slats or leave them textured. More on this later.

After the badgeless grille, I'm wanting to shave the front bumper. I used to be against it as the relatively large indicator/fog cluster was so characteristic of the Mk3, but the more I look at it, the more I like it. As for the front indicators, I'm thinking of going OEM+ rather than reuse the Mk3 items, as I think they look rather awkward with their squarish appearance (compared with the rear lights). With the paint, I'm considering two options. Paint it as it is like now (colour-coded, but textured top) or texture paint the whole bumper. The former I'd like to do to keep the car looking "normal" and to show off the shaved effect; the latter I'd like to do as it's slightly more different and because I've always liked the panda theme AE86. Also, if I go with the former, I'd texture paint the slats on the grille; for the latter, I'd colour code the slats on the grille so there's not too much black. Still deciding on this!

I've bought another set of wheels. And yes, they are another set of BBS RS :P Except I've turned back to 16's again. These ones are off a Toyota Soarer - 16"x7"/8" ET45. Steep offset = perfect with adapters. I'll be putting the VR6 brakes I bought a year ago into good use now. I'm thinking of running 20mm/30mm front/rear adapters for now (so that's 16x7 ET25 at the front, 16x8 ET15 at the rear) which should give me the look I want - some subtle poke. I'm thinking of widening the 7's to 8's so I can run a lower offset at the back, but this will be later when I put the wheels aside for a good refurbish (they've got some nasty gutter rash right now). I've got my eyes on a set of Work Equips in the same size (not sure about offset) so I'm thinking of picking those up to and running them while I have the BBS on the sidelines. They're only going for $350 which is stupidly cheap for a set of sick wheels.

With the wheels on stretched tyres, I'd really "need" to go lower! The 14's with the 185/60 rubber is already exhibiting some noticeable wheel-fender gap and 16's with 195/45's, with a smaller rolling diameter, would look the same, if not accentuate the wheel gap. I've already spent a grand on my current set-up which is only half a year old so I don't want to get rid of it. Months of trawling through the Vortex has led me to Ground Control suspension systems. They make coilover retrofits that are essentially sleeves that slip over the current struts. With custom springs, they allow the current struts to act like your run-of-the-mill coilover system by providing height adjustability. Adjustments are anywhere from 0" to 2.5" lowering, which is definitely an "improvement" over the 40mm I have now. Of course, this isn't necessary yet as it's only a matter of looks that I'm considering this for. I've asked for a quote and they come in at ~$437USD, which isn't too bad at all. I should be able to get some money back from selling my Koni springs easily. Also, on the suspension side of things, I'm really digging the Neuspeed rear anti-roll bars. I discovered that Ian (dub_rub_oi_oi on VWW and Vortex) had recently become a distributor of Neuspeed products and can ship the rear ARB for less than $400. Compared to a lower-spec, non-adjustable ARB from Whiteline at ~$250, I think it's a good investment. I've heard a lot about the improvements an ARB can do to the handling of the car. I definitely have autocross aspirations in the future so this should be a worthy upgrade. However, I don't know what to do first - coilover sleeve kit or ARB? Generally, I'm leaning towards the coilover for looks, and ARB for handling... I hate to say it but I'm really edging for the coilover kit!

Other plans so far include fixing the rust (probably replacing the driver's door), interior enhancements (headlining, pillars, just to update the appearance for my pleasure) and custom-modding a lip - don't want to reveal too much yet :)

Tuesday 04/09/2007

Had the shittest day two Tuesdays back. The car finally broke down on me, in the middle of Parramatta Road during peak hour. Misfiring like crazy and idling like a heartbeat, it finally gave up and stalled, not wanting to start but cranking like a chundering drunk. Long story cut short, I ended up pushing a 100m up-hill to a side road as the APEC thing was going on during that week (clearways were enforced). Towed it to Matt for a 170 fucking dollars + a ripped lip.

Matt tried to diagnose the problem for about 3 days. Some of the parts he replaced were:
  • two distributors (new)
  • dizzy rotor
  • dizzy cap
  • a set of spark plugs
  • waterpump sensor
  • lambda probe
  • fuel regulator pressure sensor
  • fuel pump relay + other associated relays
and the worst part was, it still didn't fix the problem. The car would keep overfueling and overcharging the spark and with the above changed to new parts, it was first thought to be an ECU problem. We were all set to get a towie to take it to the dealer along with a new (well, wrecked) ECU to have it recoded to suit my keys and car, until Oli came along in his new Caddy TDI and gave us a few pointers. He had a similar problem with another car and it turned out to be the crank angle sensor, which was the item I was supposed to fucking replace but couldn't because the part wasn't readily available. As mentioned in a post earlier, the wire was getting brittle, and the insulation would just crack off. It became so bad that the bare wires were being exposed, causing them to touch each other and create a short. This was the culprit for my misfires and shitty starts. The car would run fine when it's cold - the wires don't have as much resistance (basic physics). But once it gets warm, that's where all hell breaks lose. It became so bad that spark plugs would foul within 5 minutes of the car running. They would be black-as when taken out for another cleaning, only to foul again. So what Oli suggested to do was to tape the wires up individually and the sensor as well so it would let me at least drive small distances until we can source a crank angle sensor... well, a cheap one. Oli called one of his mate's from a VW parts dealer and even with his connections the best he could come up with was $400. For a piece of fucking wire. Matt's going to buy a few of them from his UK connections and he thinks they should get here in no more than ~$100AUD, which is bloody decent... but recently when I visited him, the 1998 Mk3 he was wrecking had an intact, good condition crank angle sensor, and hopefully he will take it out for me soon so I can replace it and be happy again.

So yeah, a lot of text up there but I've bolded the important bits :P

Looks like there's no more VR6 in the works anymore, as that fucking wire has/will cost me in excess of $500. So it's back to the 2.slow - it's all good though, I still love the fuckin' thing so much. Some big plans comin' up, hopefully most done by the end of the year. Will go through these things in the next post.

I don't think anyone reads these posts, let alone the guys that helped me out, but I'd like to give a big thanks to Matt, Brenton and Oli.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Fixes - Part Three

So I went to Matt's again to pick up a better condition crank angle sensor wire. His were as f*cked as mine, but as I was about to leave, the car wouldn't start. Just cranked and cranked and cranked but no ignition. This time it was for real, it just wouldn't start. Pretty good timing mind you, I wouldn't have been able to fix it otherwise.
Anyway we did a few tests here and there of the electrical system and found that it was the dizzy that was f*cking up on us. It was sending very little spark at first but then ended up sending none at all. The cap looked pretty new but was burnt on some parts, which would mean that the dizzy was being sent heavier signals than normal.

That still doesn't cure the car of its misfiring but now I'm more certain that it may be caused by the crank angle sensor wire. I don't have access to my camera now but it looks very brittle and is very much exposed to a lot of heat. I'll have to insulate it more when I fit a new one in. Which reminds me, I gotta go make an order for it now.