Smyth UTE build thread (hopefully)

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
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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Growler

Got Soot Vendor
Joined
Nov 24, 2003
Location
Millersport, Ohio
TDI
Schmutz, 2015 Golf Sportwagen DSG & Schnurren, 2001 Golf GL 2 door 5M
where is that like button..... looking forward to seeing this progress.
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
Aaron, we had "like" before "like" was cool, but "subscribe" just doesn't sound as good!
 

79TA7.6

Veteran Member
Joined
May 8, 2006
Location
Live: Wilbur/Creston; Work: Moses Lake Washington
TDI
2003 Jetta GLS 5 Speed
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.
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
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.
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
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
 
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DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
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....
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
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. :)
 
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DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
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!
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
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. :)
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
I am starting to work on the car tomorrow. The list of what this car needs is long. I am starting with an auto-ectomy. Then the ip needs seals, oil leaks in a couple spots. Interior is going to need work, suspension needs a lift, etc. I don't have the time or budget to do it all at once, so I'm just going to start prioritizing the list. First round of fix-it parts will be on the way later this week. Hopefully will have a good chunk of the work out of the way by the time the kit ships.
Gunselman - I'm sure I'll see you around!
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
Well I just typed a bunch of stuff and apparently I got timed out.. I had a few hours this afternoon, so I tore into the front of the car. I ordered a bunch of parts. Ordered clutch. Went with the g60/vr6 because I know it well and it's cheap. And I'm only planning a tune and injectors for this car, nothing wild. I actually plan to use this truck as a truck, not a weekend cruiser. Bumper is off, headlights are out. Haven't decided what to do with them yet. Gotta get the trans dropped tomorrow and start on the interior and wiring. Not doing anything relating to the Smyth kit yet, but as I've already said- I'm not cutting anything until the kit is sitting in my garage. that's all for today

 
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DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI

look ma, no trans!
My dog wasn't much help, neither was my crappy trans jack.
Ordered some more parts today, but didn't put in much time in the garage. Interior work tomorrow.
 

runonbeer

Maintenance EnthusiastVendor
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Austin, TX/Chapel Hill, NC
TDI
'00 Golf 02M, '10 Golf 02E, '02 UTE 02M
I put a deposit on a ute kit back in like August, might have even been July. Got the HDs and a 2" lift kit on the shelf. Kinda wish those guys would get it together.
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
runonbeer- Awww... We also have the "same" car according to your sig. Others (several) have come and gone, but the 2 door golf has been with me since 2000. I bought this Jetta specifically to cut.
I have watched your leaky pump tutorial a couple of times but never needed it. I ordered seals to fix this one, so I'll be putting it to use soon.
Regarding the kit, even if it ships in March, it's kind of too late for me as my business is summer seasonal and I'll be busy. So at least I'll have another running driving car sitting in my driveway until then.
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
So the last couple of days I didn't get a lot done in the big picture. Third pedal is fully installed, shifter is installed and ALL of the ugly automatic parts have shipped to the scrap yard, yielding precisely $33.20. The way I look at it, that money let me (almost) splurge on new sway bar bushings, links, and ball joints. None of which I really probably really needed, but I feel better about it anyway. Installed the new clutch today along with a rear main seal. My new transmission jack (his name is Tom) is coming over tomorrow morning to help wrestle that thing into place. New clutch switch is on order, as well as several other miscellaneous small parts. Hoping to get some wiring done this weekend, we'll see what happens. It would be nice to have this thing roll out of the garage under it's own power in the next few days. Then it'll be back to the waiting game...
 
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runonbeer

Maintenance EnthusiastVendor
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Austin, TX/Chapel Hill, NC
TDI
'00 Golf 02M, '10 Golf 02E, '02 UTE 02M
My kit (if it ever shows up) isn't going on my golf either, no sir. I bought a sedan from a customer because it pooped a turbo. So that car got a fresh head, timing belt, turbo and a bunch of other stuff. It's been sitting outside for 6 months letting me steal little parts off it here & there. Now it needs a battery.
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
Payload is going up, rust is going down, fit and finish is dramatically improved over the prototypes we shipped. Every task in this business comes down to the 2-3 people who are working here right now. For me this is a lot of 80+ hour weeks!

The wait is going to be WORTH IT. The first test aluminum 0.160 bed sides and front fit perfectly. Next revision will be ready to ship.

 
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manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
The hitch will require a 3"-4" extension and the roll pan will need a little trimming, but yes hitches should be fine.
 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
The teardrop wheel wells that are so controversial were steel, correct? Since the inner bed is going to be aluminum, I assume these are going to change as well. Do you have any pictures of the new ones yet? So far it looks really good!
 

manual_tranny

Smyth Performance- Intern
Joined
Jan 5, 2010
Location
New Bedford, MA
TDI
2001 Golf @182K; 2000 Jetta @290K
You must have a crystal ball! :)

Yes, they will definitely be replaced with lighter weight versions. They retain some of their teardrop style and utility (48" plywood sheets and other lumber can easily be carried in at least two different configurations). As soon as our metal shop delivers them, we'll have them in boxes and on their way to you guys!

It also looks as though these new parts ship in 4 boxes instead of 6. The total weight of the kit is roughly 50% of what it was before, so the capacity to haul with this truck will be a couple hundred pounds better than the original Jetta/Golf. A few pieces which require maximum toughness will continue to be made of steel, but the entire bed shown below is aluminum except for the C-channel floor supports. They're about as strong as I beams, but they allow us to drill and tap to fasten down the floor. Our design includes two support channels and three strong aluminum extrusions that are not pictured below:

 

DCELL

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Location
Sheridan, IN
TDI
'01 GOLF 2DR, ‘15 Passat SEL TDI
Manny- thanks for the update. I like the wheel well design. As for the aluminum, I guess the new F-150 won't be the only game in town! I've finally got most of the car put together from a mechanical standpoint, so I'm hoping to see the kit real soon.
 
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