Cesar the Valentine Beetle: A Build Thread

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
An Innocuous Beginning
It was Valentines Day, 2015, and my other half did what any sensible woman would do on such a day: She bought her man a non-running 2000 New Beetle TDI.
The Craigslist listing advertised “New turbo still in the box!” What I discovered was a Prothe cartridge in a beat up, moldy box, and the original turbo in pieces and covered in rust. I quickly lost any motivation I’d had to put the car together and run it as-is. However, with the knowledge that the previous owner had already installed a South Bend Stage 2 clutch and other sundry modifications, I couldn’t just abandon the poor little car altogether.
Plus, it was just so damn good-looking!
And so, Cesar the Valentine Beetle waited patiently for almost a year, as I directed my attention to my girlfriend’s 2001 TDI Beetle, our ‘67 Ford Country Squire, and my ‘67 and ‘73 aircooled Beetles.


 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Time to Get Serious

Time to Get Serious
After much deliberation, research, and advice from guys much smarter and wiser than myself, I decided to build the car for as aggressive a Stage 4 as Mark Malone was willing to tune, with an eye for Stage 5 when time and expenses allow. With snow on the ground, I decided to tow Cesar to the back yard where I could get to work away from neighbor’s prying eyes.


First order of business: a new Garrett VNT17. A hybrid or GTB turbo was outside of my budget at the time, but is in the cards for the future.

Next, Bosio Fratelli Race 520’s, set up by DBW.

Then, a timing belt kit, and lastly, an 11mm pump from a Jetta parts car my girlfriend picked up for $500. This picture shows the janky homemade race pipe the car came with, which I replaced with a Buzzken unit.
 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Out with the old, In with the New

With the car in running, if not road-ready condition, I turned my focus to the nasty biohazard of an interior.


I started by removing the seats, which revealed standing water.




Completely stripped!


With the mold gone, I bolted in a set of Recaros from a Turbo S. They’re not perfect, but it’s a vast improvement! Eventually, a new carpet, door panels, and back seat will follow, but for now, Cesar is in "weight reduction" mode.

 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Suspension Time

Going fast is pointless if your stock suspension wants to pitch you in the opposite direction.

First order of business was a set of FK Streetline coilovers, which were on sale for almost half price from eurocollective.com.


Next were some Powerflex polyurethane strut bushings and poly LCA bushings from Energy Suspension. I unfortunately forgot to take pictures during the install process. The coilovers were a cakewalk, but the LCA bushings were a pain in the ass.
 
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WooshyNoises

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Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
With the suspension installed and the car semi-presentable, I threw on a set of 17" Take 5's I had laying around, and dropped the car off at the alignment shop.



Once aligned, I took the car for a blast on some local back roads. I was impressed by its ability to act civilized and stock-like at low throttle, then blow the tires off on demand. The suspension is firm but doesn't crash over bumps like the Konis in my other TDI Beetle, and the steering very responsive. There's still a little more body roll and understeer than I like. Thankfully I scored a 28mm Neuspeed rear sway bar for $30 at a swap meet, so once installed, that should dial in the handling to my standards.
 
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MattRabbit

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 12, 1999
Location
Orlando, FL, USA
TDI
2015 Golf SE TDI, 2014 Beetle TDI, 1981 Rabbit Diesel
Woah, that interior! Bleh! I hope you wore a mask and full scrubs when cleaning that thing. What happened? Did a door seal fail or something? Sunroof drains plugged for the last decade? Eeew!

the bug is shaping up nice, though! Under all the grime, it looks to be in great shape!
 

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
I'm pretty sure it's the sunroof drains. I've cleaned them once, but water still magically appears in the floorboard every time it rains, so I'm guessing there's a split or something.
 

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Dressing Up

In early spring of 2016, my girlfriend's VW mentor, Corky Yager of Sunray Bugs fame, passed away. Corky was very proud of his Herbie tribute car, which reflected his own warped sense of humor. My girlfriend decided to borrow my car and honor Corky's memory by making it a temporary tribute to his Herbie car.

Here is what the original tribute car looks like today:


We started by making some vinyl decals at my work:


Then we(she) started taping and masking off the lines:



The stripes were sprayed with plastidip and the vinyl carefully applied. The final result, while not my personal cup of tea, came out damn good! Besides, it was for a good cause. I also changed the Take 5's to a set of Santa Monica wheels with larger tires, for a more aggressive stance and better ride. Finally, my wonderful girlfriend bought me a set of NOS smoked turn signals and some very cool stock headlights with blacked out housings.


We drove the car for about six weeks in this guise. We drove it 900 miles round trip to Florida to visit Corky's family there, then 1100 miles round trip to Effingham, Illinois to visit his family there. The car performed flawlessly!
 
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WooshyNoises

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Powder Springs, GA
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01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Time to Address Some Issues
At this point, the "costume" came off and Cesar got a nice buff job by a friend.


I was reasonably happy with the way the car looked and the car was proving quite reliable, but there were a few things I wasn't happy with: smoke level, fuel economy, and responsiveness. I fully expected there to be smoke from R520's and a VNT17, but I was starting to feel like a bit of an a-hole because I was rolling coal at anything over 1/3 throttle. As a result, fuel economy was a consistent 38mpg on the highway, and a dismal 32 around town. Furthermore, after some pulls against an E39 540i on the straights outside of town, I realized that my car seemed to run out of breath fairly quickly, like a marathon runner breathing through a straw on a hot day. The stock intercooler and piping clearly wasn't cutting it.

My first thought was to use an upgraded SMIC. It is noticeably more voluminous than stock, but I quickly discovered that the outlet is all wrong for a Beetle, and the mounting will not clear that sensuous curve of the bumper.


The obvious solution: FMIC!

(Next time: Things Get Interesting.)
 
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csstevej

Top Post Dawg
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Aug 12, 2004
Location
north nj
TDI
2001 golf tdi 4 door auto now a manual, mine, 2000 golf 2 door M/T son's,daughters 98 NB non-TDI 2.0, 2003 TDI NB for next daughter, head repaired and on road,gluten for punishment got another tdi 2001NB,another yellow tdi NB
Check the inner door that's bolted to the main door ( the one the window regulator is bolted to) the sticky rope that seals that panel to the main Door is probably your water culprit.
I ve had it happen to three of my cars, two of them don't have sunroofs.
It leaks into the door card then over the door seal onto the carpet. Just my .o2
Nice build so far, looks great!
 

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
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Powder Springs, GA
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01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Thanks for that, I'll check it out. I'm converting the car to manual windows in the near future, so I'll inspect the inner panel seal then! If that is the root of the problem, what would you recommend to waterproof it?
 

WooshyNoises

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Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Things Get Interesting

Things Get Interesting
After months of research, I finally decided to pull the trigger on the FMIC project. I started with a used intercooler, which a local kid pulled off his Audi. It came with a box full of piping, none of which I used. Someday I may use it to make an OMI.

The fins were pretty mangled, so I spent a week of lunches painstakingly straightening them one by one.


Next, I ordered a universal 2" piping kit from Ebay.


My car isn't particularly low, and never will be (although it will be lower than it is right now!) but I found that mounting the IC to the bottom of the crash bar set it much too close to the ground. The crash bar is just a C-channel, so I pulled it off and cut a portion of the lower lip away so I could mount the intercooler to the top lip. The result is a nice, clean install that doesn't look tacked on, and it won't be catching on speed bumps! This picture shows how it mounts:


And from the front:


Next came the tricky part: Running the upper pipes through the engine compartment! I had my friend Aleks weld a MAP sensor bung on the elbow, and some careful rerouting of the wiring allowed the sensor to reach with no splicing required! There is barely space for a 2" tube to squeeze diagonally between the fan and the oil filter "tower," and connect with a 45 degree silicone elbow.


This ant's-eye view shows how everything routes underneath (and how dirty the underside is-- yikes!)


During this time, I also decided to fit a set of 1.8T knuckles and brakes, and a new pair of CV axles. I neglected to take pictures during this, but everyone knows what brakes look like, anyway!

Finally, I set Cesar back on all fours, bled the brakes, and took him for a faceless run around the block. The neighbors and girlfriend think I'm a wack job now, but I thought it was hilarious!

 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
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01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Triumphant Return

At last, I put Cesar's face back on, went back to the alignment shop, then made a triumphant return to work.





I honestly didn't quite expect a drastic improvement, but boy was I surprised! The difference is staggering. Throttle response is vastly improved, and under acceleration, the turbo sustains 24psi effortlessly. Best of all, smoke is almost non-existent until about 3/4 throttle!
 
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cevans

TDIClub Enthusiast, TDI Parts Ninja Vendor , w/Bus
Joined
Sep 24, 2002
Location
Hingham, MA
TDI
2015 Jetta TDI 6spd // 2015 Bettle Conv. 6-Speed
This thread makes me miss my 2000 which I also had to do a resurrection on. Nice work on this so far!
 

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Thanks guys!
Not much has been happening with this car lately, because the wife and I have been preparing for our son to be born, and the car keeps blowing off boost hoses every time I drive it. I was warned about crappy clamps when I was researching the Ebay pipe kits, so I think higher-quality clamps will solve that issue.
In other news, the driver side power window is starting to act up finally, so it's about time to do the manual window conversion! That will be a fun update.
I also finally received my new urethane rear sway bar bushings from Neuspeed, so the sway bar is going to get installed sooner rather than later. I can't wait to get rid of some body roll and understeer!
A fresh picture:
 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
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01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
@Owain, the pickup belongs to the wifey. It's AAZ swapped. :D
It's been sitting since summer. Gotta figure out a boost issue, but info is hard to find on this side of the border.
 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Just a quick update today:
I haven't done much on this car in the last couple months. My son was born at the end of January, so he's taken up most of my time. Besides that, I have an overwhelming list of cars I'm supposed to be working on besides my own.
I did manage to score some goodies for my car from a customer, though!

 

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
At Last! Progress.

After far too many months of down time, I finally got an afternoon free to work on this car. For starters, the boost issue turned out to be a failed clip on the turbo outlet, so the adapter worked itself out. Easy fix!
Second, the PD150 manifold is now installed. Please excuse the dirty engine bay! We're in the middle of pollen and thunderstorm season here in Georgia, so all kinds of detritus has ended up on and in my car.


I also installed the manual window regulators. Modified door panels will follow ASAP.

And last, for now, I got my new dash center section installed with a gauge pod. For now, only the boost gauge works. The voltmeter will be replaced by an EGT gauge.

Next order of business will be to install my Neuspeed rear sway bar. I also have a change of rolling stock in the wings. The characterless black wheels and big stupid 215/55-17's are driving me crazy.
 
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WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Not much of an update, but I got the new wheels and tires on. Now it's time to crank the coilovers down to a respectable height.





Unfortunately the car won't start right now. I'm thinking that I've let it sit too long with the new quantity adjuster seals and that it's lost prime. Haven't had a chance to work on it. Who knew that a child could keep one so busy?!
 

WooshyNoises

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Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
Cesar is finally on the road again!
The no-start was a combination of lost prime, as suspected, and a battery that wouldn't hold charge, which was thankfully under warranty with Interstate.
On the suspension side of things, I turned the FK's down all the way, but kept the helper springs and rear adjuster in. I like the stance. It looks low without being so low that it bottoms out in the jungle that is my back yard. The driver side front tire scrubs on the fender a bit with my fat ass in the car, but the occasional smell of burning plastic is a small price to pay for looking good. :D
Oh, and handling is on a whole other level. Very easy to power through corners now! I've never had a front wheel drive car that could instill this kind of confidence in the twisties without an LSD.


I've driven about 20 miles with this configuration. I am starting to experience a bearing or CV vibration when I turn right at any speed over 15mph, so that's next on the agenda. It's always something with this car!
I've also noticed that since installing the PD150 intake manifold, my boost gauge tops out at 22psi and the turbo is laggier than I remember. With the stock intake, boost was sitting pretty at 24psi sustained. I can't imagine that the PD150 intake would cause a 2psi pressure drop! Perhaps in all my tinkering, I created a vacuum leak somewhere?
Parting shot:
 
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benIV

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Oct 25, 2009
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SouthEast NC
TDI
Orville - 2003 platinum gray Jetta 5m 220K miles ||| Wilbur (Knurren) - 2003 silver Jetta wagon 5m 230K miles
It's a wonderful thing, seeing a tdi being saved. well done.
 

WooshyNoises

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Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Location
Powder Springs, GA
TDI
01 Beetle, 00 Beetle
This doesn't really count as an update, but I added a little color and tackiness to my interior in the form of this shift knob, which I rescued a couple years ago from my first watercooled Beetle, a bright-yellow 1.8T. Legend holds that this knob was hand-painted by seven virgins in Mongolia, under the order of Genghis Kahn himself. That would explain the ****-eating grin, I suppose. :D





Also, I diagnosed the vibration and noise as a bad inner CV joint on the driver side axle, which is very strange because that axle was brand-new less than 100 miles ago! It's under warranty, thankfully, but I'm not looking forward to doing that job all over again.
 
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