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TDI Conversions Discussions on converting non TDIs into TDIS. More general items can be answered better in other sections. This is ideal for issues that don't have an overlap and are very special to swaping engines.

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Old January 12th, 2015, 09:48   #1
DCELL
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Default Smyth UTE build thread (hopefully)

Hopefully this is beginning of a unique build. I have been in love with/ contemplating a smyth ute build since I first saw some concept photoshops of it a couple of years ago. I am in need of a fuel efficient small truck. Rather than build a conversion truck, I've decided to convert a Jetta into a truck. If you are not familiar with the UTE conversion, check out Smyth Performance on facebook or on the website.
I placed an order for the kit several weeks ago, but after some delays I am told it will not actually ship until late February. I was hoping for this to be a "winter" project, but that's obviously not going to happen. While I wait on the truck bed, I will be addressing as many of the other issues that I have time for. I am self employed and I work a lot. I also do quite a bit of TDI and general automotive work for other people, so time and garage space are critical. I'll try to update as I go but who knows where this adventure will lead!

For starters, this car is badly in need of an Auto-ectomy. Reverse is out and 01m's are junk, so it's got to go. The deal came with most of the parts for a 5spd swap, and the rest I either have of I can get easily. It's not my first conversion, so I hope it will go smoothly. It has miles, faded paint, peeling clearcoat, bald tires, a broken windshield and several other minor inconveniences. Most of these things are going to be addressed during the conversion process anyway, so I bought the car with that in mind. The good news is the car goes down the road in forward gears nice, the turbo works, and it has good solid bones. The rest I will eventually change anyway.

The original for sale thread is here:
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=412311

Picking up in Waveland, MS. on an overcast 50 degree day. Thanks Newgene!


After dragging the car home for 13 hours through rain and an Ice storm, I went to bed. This morning when I got up, there was even a little snow to top it off. I've got to make room in the garage before I can even pull it inside. The adventure begins!
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Last edited by DCELL; January 12th, 2015 at 10:54.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 10:50   #2
Votblindub
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lets have a look then!
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Old January 12th, 2015, 11:18   #3
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where is that like button..... looking forward to seeing this progress.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 11:20   #4
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Aaron, we had "like" before "like" was cool, but "subscribe" just doesn't sound as good!
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Old January 12th, 2015, 11:47   #5
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Subscribed… errr, liked, that is.
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Old January 12th, 2015, 14:36   #6
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Subscribed!!! Can't wait to see this done!!
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Old January 13th, 2015, 09:26   #7
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Are you able to do the cutting and stuff before the "kit" comes in? Does he give dimensions of where to cut or is there a template that is needed for the cutting? That and the 3 pedal swap could be done while waiting for the parts, but I am sure you already have a plan of attack figured out.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 09:44   #8
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Plan of attack is just to work on it when I can for now. There are plenty of maintenance issues to attend to as well. I just want it to be fully functioning and relatively leak free before I cut. I'd prefer not to cut it before I have the kit, even though I'm sure I could get the template ahead of time. The cuts are the easiest part.
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Old January 13th, 2015, 17:50   #9
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In June my Georgia Peach and I will bring the steaks and beer and watch you work on it.
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Old January 16th, 2015, 14:45   #10
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Fuel Economy: Is just one piece of the puzzle that is our bottomless appetite for oil. Cars donít have to be consumable. Instead of throwing them away, we can rebuild them, better. We have the technology.
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We ran into some trouble welding up frames, it was possible but more time consuming than expected. I welded the first frame on the floor with a paper pattern. The channel we use likes to bend a lot when we weld it. So the second truck I welded with 4 wooden tools I made to hold everything in shape.

Problem was, those tools could only do so much. I would have to weld a little, straighten the channels a little, then weld some more. Eventually I could get a great part, but it was a bit too time consuming to make.

The first kit we sent to Local Motors for a SEMA build. That kit was a little rough but it went together without much trouble. I got to go out there and cut their car and help out a bit, good times.



The second kit went to Rutledge Wood and we've just got a picture of the painted car today.



We were excited to ship to him, but the pressure was on for quality. I was working with semi-prototype parts that ended up fitting very nicely. These kits had me working very very long hours. Lots of days were 9am-2am trying to get everything just right for the first time.

Still, the welding distortion was causing some trouble, and even with perfect tools to hold it and an experienced welder, it would never be a cakewalk.

So, we have an awesome solution to this problem which we will be sharing and shipping soon. It will feature much less of my ugly welds, and many more precision bends on a large heavy duty press brake. With this final, minor delay will come a kit that bolts and rivets together with accuracy and strength that is surprising even to me. One added bonus is that the sides of the bed are going to be a thicker gauge, and the weight of the kit will be approximately the same. I can't wait to share the new steel design with everyone!

Best wishes,

Mike Gallant
810-394-5040
Smyth Performance

Last edited by manual_tranny; January 16th, 2015 at 14:51.
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Old January 16th, 2015, 16:50   #11
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Mike- Tell Rut that no matter how big of a fan I am of his, it's not right that he gets to cut in line. I expect him to call me and apologize, or meet me for a beer sometime. Can't wait to see it on the show....
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Old January 16th, 2015, 18:21   #12
manual_tranny
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Fuel Economy: Is just one piece of the puzzle that is our bottomless appetite for oil. Cars donít have to be consumable. Instead of throwing them away, we can rebuild them, better. We have the technology.
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I agree that it is not fair, but I would be a fool to think that the success of our company is not hinging on these bizarre, fateful twists and turns. As always we are doing our very best to make everyone happy rather than half-a$$ a few kits as fast as possible.

If I ever actually get to talk with Rutledge I'll be sure to remind him how privileged he is.

Last edited by manual_tranny; January 18th, 2015 at 11:29.
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Old January 17th, 2015, 17:52   #13
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Mike-
I meant my comment to be taken in jest, though reading it again I can see it probably didn't come across that way. As a business owner, I certainly understand the necessity for the quality and care that must be taken. I can only hope that same pains are taken on my kit when it is finally ready to assemble.

It sounds like a lot of work, which I can certainly appreciate. I was under the impression that more of the metal fabrication process was automated. Now that I know it isn't, all I can do is pretend you are a robot, and dream about the perfect welds I'll be receiving. Happy Fabricating!
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Old January 18th, 2015, 11:38   #14
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Sooo... with the way were are redesigning the metal in the kit, there will be very little welding. I am pretty sure that there will be few visible welds once everything is installed. Lots of precision bending of thicker steel on a very large press brake. Faster, more accurate, and cheaper than a guy like me trying to weld. I'm not sure what took us so long.
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Old February 1st, 2015, 11:45   #15
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Can't wait to see this in person!
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