Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brake caliper adapter

I made my first cnc milled part, an adapter for T4 front brakes for our street car. It took about 6 hours to make it while learning to use all that there is to make such part from a cad model. I've milled some small pieces before, but nothing this complex and doing it independently still takes some practice.

I'm already comfortable using a cnc lathe, but the bill is so much more versatile and complex. I'll have to start milling every wee, so I won't forget the skills that I've learned.

The adapter looks horrible, compared to what it should. Luckily it's just a mock up piece. I didn't dare to make the thread (I'm sure something bad would have happened), so I made it by hand. That's why the part has some marks from clamping. The raw material I started with was just a bit too thin, there wasn't enough material to machine it smooth, this is why the surface looks dented.
I'll make it better next time...

It took about 9 minutes for the machine to make the part, so it doesn't take very long to make once you have made the code and set up the machine with the right tools.

A nice home studio. The edge of the A4 breaks the illusion in the upper edge.

Even when T4 brakes will fit with these parts to the RaceTaxi, we're not sure yet what brakes to use, so all suggestions are welcome. We have to use brakes from a car that weighs the same or more as ours, so there aren't many options available. We already had Cayenne brakes, but they required so much space that the rims you had to use made no sense.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Lightening, lowering and painting the left side

After measuring the weight we were really motivated to work on the car, especially to lighten it even more.

First we removed the dash fresh air/heating system with hoses. The car has it's engine at the back, and the radiator and dash heater have their own hoses. So by eliminating the dash heater, we got rid of ca. 8 meters of hose.

Next we lowered the rear by removing the upper mounts for the rear springs. The upper mounts would just be excess weight when converting the rear to coil-overs.

When the rear was at the right height, we noticed that we didn't lower the front enough when the car was laying on it's side. So we had to of course also lower the front. Cutting the front springs was easy when the car was on it's side, but not anymore, so we decided to lighten the front floor and at the same time create access holes for the front springs.

The car is now at a decent height, both front and rear tires have about 5cm of room to travel, which should be enough for track use. We will still have to check the travel of the front suspension, probably the shocks are bottomed, and hopefully not the balljoints...

Rear end, springs and their upper mounting points removed. Resting on only the shock absorbers.

Lightening the front floor. The floor will be covered with aluminium.

A design flaw by the VW factory? When you lower enough the breather tanks interfer with the wheels.

The car lowered.

Left side painted.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Measuring the weight

We finally got the race taxi on scales. We measured the weights of two Multivans at the same time, the other one being without an engine. The results were quite stunning, because we had no real idea what to expect.

Multivan 1, without engine, 1384kg (3051lbs).

Multivan 2, 2,1wbx, 1616kg (3562lbs), with 10 liters of gas.

Gear box, 51,5 kg (113lbs), without oil.

Subaru engine on engine stand, 172kg (379lbs). We assumed that the engine stand would weigh about the same as the exhaust, flywheel and other missing parts. The factory says it weighs 147kg (324lbs).

The Race Taxi, 759,5 kg (1675lbs)! Without windows, doors, engine, gear box etc.

The goal weight has been 1300kg (2866lbs), but when quickly counting together missing parts, 1100-1200kg (2425lbs-2645lbs) doesn't seem too impossible. Getting the weight to 1100kg would be great, then it would weigh approximately the same as Mika's Porsche! When thinking about the weight, and how much hasn't been lightened yet, even 1000kg doesn't seem impossible if you do something radical... Maybe next year.

Getting the weight this low motivated us to lighten even further, and the first thing we decided was to remove the stock fresh air and heater system from the front, and replace it with a Caravelle rear heater to get some heat when going ice racing. Some lightweight fresh air system will be fabricated, so we can get the car through the inspection.

Rest of the evening was spent sanding and preparing the car for painting, it gets closer each day that passes by.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


We got our homepage running at

Please visit us and check out the photo gallery section, it has loads of additional photos not seen in the blog.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Beginning painting

We testfitted the skirts and bumpers when it was light outside. The Project Zwo front bumper looks too skinny, it might fit well with the early rear bumper, but with the big bumper it just looks wrong. The current vision is to put the kin spoiler of the project zwo to a stock big bumpers.

The filling and sanding is starting to be on a good stage, so we started to partially paint the car. The temperature was +3 degrees C, so it was a quite good weather for painting. But the drying took ages... At this stage we painted the door openings, fenders, body seams and the interior around the window openings. The preliminary paint will be applied in our garage, and the surface will be sanded smooth. The final paint layer will be applied in a paint shop.

Testfitting the rear bumper and the rear grille. The final version of the grille will be narrowed to fit between the lights

The front bumper looks too small...

In Formation.

Right side, painting in progress.

Right side, trying to visualize what the widened fenders will look like.

Left side.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Preparing for paint continues

The car is again a bit closer to being painted. The rest of the seams are glued and sanding and filling continues at a good pace

Smoothing the cleaned body seams is loads of work. We removed just two layers of paint, but to make it smooth we have to fill the equivalent amount to make it look good.

We also removed the rear valance old school style, to make engine changes and servicing more easy.

Sweet looking paint job, it looks almost cute. Lots of sanding left.

The gas cap.

The removed rear valance. It wont end up looking like this. The bumper will cover up the most, and we will make a grille to cover the hole between the rear lights.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spare parts van

Last weekend we got another T3 for spare parts. The car has good doors, windscreen and many body parts. I was really glad to get a spare windscreen.

We removed the doors and other small parts right away and then much time was spent cleaning up spaces to get proper storage space for them and other spare parts. We also transported the caravelle from ruining the scenery around the garage.

We got hold of big bumpers and side skirts for upcoming glass/carbon fibre work. The parts require some minor fixing before we can make molds from them, but nothing bad. We decided to remove the bumpers from the yellow caravelle, and skirts were bought from ebay. The stock glass fibre parts are really nicely made, especially the inside, they remind of injection mould plastic parts.

We also cleaned all the seams in the body, and all rust spots were sand blasted. The left side is also filled with body filler, like when the car left the factory.

We have ordered a domain for the homepage, and the pages will hopefully be up next week. The cars are also supposed to be weighed next week.

A nice looking combination, also comfortable when driving. The 2,1 wbx feels strong enough for this use, but it is highly stressed and fuel consumption is quite high.

The venting grill at the rear. They are just the right size so we can put them on the side behind the rear wheels to improve the air intake to the engine.

A picture of the filled seams. When taking this picture, they looked so awful, that I just had to focus on the wall of the garage.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Painting the doors

Yesterday we sanded and painted the doors. We also washed the car.

I don't really have much to say about how we spent the the time yesterday, feels like not much was done... Painting is so time consuming. Everything has to be gone through, filled and sanded, and the parts also have to be clean. You have to be really careful when handling big parts like these, because if you ding or dent anything, you have to start over. Even making and cleaning the space where to paint takes so much time, not to mention cleaning the tools and space afterwards.

It feels like time spent is tripled when you remove a part for painting. Maybe it's because when you remove the part, you have to concentrate on something smaller, and that makes you cut less corners in the process.

We also got to loan a pressure washer, because we have loaned our own. Now the car is clean and ready to be taken inside if necessary.

Much time was also spent in the electrical problems on the other Multivan. The second oil pressure sensor is probably broken. When you get up to speed and revs rise over 2500 the oil pressure light starts blinking and a summer goes on. We tried to make some kind of quick fix so we could drive the car today without the summer on all the time and with the other oil pressure sensor still functional. We removed the wire going to the sensor that's broken and we also grounded the wire, neither made a difference! The simple solution was to remove the electrical connector going to the instrument panel... Today we'll have to change the sensor to see if that helps. Hopefully there is nothing wrong in the wiring of the car. Adding one wire elegantly to the car is a pain.

After the evening at the garage we went to see another T3 for spare parts. Our car will be a track car, and it will be driven hard. So we need all kinds of spare parts like suspension parts, drive shafts, gear boxes etc. in case something bends or breaks.

A picture of the Race Taxi when it was still bright outside.

Sanding and cleaning the door.

Mika painting.

Painted doors.

Painted and sanded side door.

A couple more night shots. Four T3's.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Wheel arches done, testfitting front bumper, lightening the doors

The first front wheel arch was so difficult to widen, that we decided to widen the rest using our spare wheel arches. The rest three took less time than making the first one.

We also tried a Project Zwo front bumper, it fits surprisingly well.

We also tried to lighten the door by removing the side impact structure, but it still weighs as much when we started (I wouldn't recommend doing it in hindsight). The side impact structure looked heavy, but seems like all the weight comes from the front and rear double/triple metal boxings that are there to support the hinge and door lock, so we'll still have to try to lighten it with a hole saw.

The car was "driven" to the front of our garage, so now it will take much less time to get the tools to and from the car. We finally could take away the subaru that was taking the spot. It's a rare front wheel drive one, so we put it's gear box into storage to wait for a future mid-engine project.

The homepage is also almost ready, it just needs a few final touches so it can be published.

Left front wheel arch, the first one we widened and that's why we have the leftover piece for this corner. Here you can see the difference between the stock and widened.

Rear wheel arch, notice how much easier it looks after the first one we did. You only have to weld one seam, and don't have to fabricate a strip of sheet metal to fill the gap.

Right front wheel arch with primer on, the picture is before filling and sanding. You can also see the new gas cap hole. The new cap is a aluminium one and fits the racing theme of the car well. I'll have to take a picture with the cap on...

Project Zwo front bumper. We'll have to do some modifications to make it fit better, and fix the damage on the bumper. The car has to be lowered even more, but the bumper fits surprisingly well on the front.

Front door, when you remove the interior steel and side impact structure, you lose about one kilo, which is in a car with this high total weight about 0,1%! Not something that I would do again. Making a light door by other means than using a stock piece will consume so much time, that we will have to use the stock one as a basis... For now.

Friday, October 5, 2007

First wheelarch done, rustjob

The first wheel arch is ready to be finished, the interior is almost ready for paint and we have also begun filling and sanding the exterior. All the cleaned body seams have to be filled to get the surface smooth, so there is a much work to be done. Luckily almost all places have been gone through, because when sanding the body, you seem to find new rust spots all the time. The surroundings of the gas cap are the only rust spots left, and fortunately we have a spare part for it.

Widened wheel arch

The surroundings of the gas cap, I just ripped out the old cap.

It becomes dark quite early, but it's not yet too cold to work outside

The rear is way too high...