So…. this happened…

Been a while since I have posted so apologies for that… been a bit of a busy year so far and I have not really had the time or the enthusiasm to do much photography (I haven’t even taken a picture of the moon this year… thats how bad its been lol)

The main catalyst for this was an unforeseen car related issue some 5 months ago…. there was me having stuck a fork in it (see this blog post for details…Stick a fork in it… I’m done!…) and then this happened…

Not really what I was planning on… I guess I have found the limit of H beam rods and stock mains caps then πŸ™‚

I was pretty lucky to be honest… the damage was limited to cylinder 4… the block was scrap but the crank was fine (piston had hit the trigger wheel though but thats replaceable) and it had bent all the exhaust valves and one or two inlets…

I had started gathering parts to rebuild the engine but made a decision to go down a different route…

Yep…. VR6 turbo πŸ˜€ I sold off the rest of the salvageable parts from the 20v engine and gathered parts for the VR build…

Stuck the engine onto a stand… the poor old stand wasn’t feeling the love of having the heavy 6 cylinder on there though lol

The engine had done 100k miles… looking at it initially I was a little concerned about how regular the servicing had been…

Took the head off to have a look as I was going to give it a refurb anyway…

On further inspection though the bores were mint, the head cleaned up nicely and didn’t need new guides like the 20v’s always do so things were looking up…

I had the head surface refaced and fitted supertech inconel exhaust valves in preparation for turbo charging…

Cleaned up the pistons and the block face… used a spacer head gasket to drop the compression ratio to 8.9:1…

Fitted a new timing chain kit which in itself presented a few issues due to to increased deck height from the spacer gasket…

Further fun and games were had with the inlet manifold that came complete with free casting sand inside!!!… so I cut it open to clean it πŸ™‚

I had the cam cover and inlet powder coated and the engine was ready to be fitted in the car…

…which happened shortly after…

I fabricated the inlet pipework and fitted that in… as I am going turbo I decided to just plumb it all up to go through the intercooler then I won’t have to worry about that later…

I plan to use my old GT3582r turbo and run it at low boost… this will produce decent power without taxing the engine too much and should provide better long term reliability than my somewhat highly strung 20v… that said I don’t have the time or resources at the moment to finish the turbo conversion despite having most of the parts so I will be running the engine normally aspirated for now…

I have most of the bits to go turbo but as mentioned no time… the turbo mani is a fairly ok looking log manifold… tubular mani’s are just far too expensive and I don’t want to tie that kind of money up in it really… I have had a V-Band adaptor made as its a T3 flange…

…this means my turbo will just bolt on… the mani uses a 38mm two bolt wastegate fitment too so I have a V-Band adaptor for that too… I will be using a Turbosmart WG-45 Gen4 wastegate with a 7psi spring…

Wastegate is quite close to the heatshielding but I test fitted with a Gen5, the Gen 4 is a little shorter and there is wiggle room behind the shielding so should all fit nice if not a little tight πŸ™‚

I am still using Ignitron ECU to control it all though as it will handle the 6 cylinder engine… it will even deal with the fully variable VVT on both inlet and exhaust cams (the 20v had a rudimentary on/off VVT setup)… this should give me a bit more control over the power band…

Only other mods to the engine at this time is larger injectors (630cc at 3bar) and I will be fitting ARP rod bolts and uprated big end bearings… the VR6 rods are pretty good for 400-500hp depending on how you tune… I will be tuning more to make the engine deliver power like a larger capacity engine rather than a great lump of torque delivery… this should help reliability and at the end of the day I have done the high power shouty stuff… the VR engine note is legendary so happy with something drives nice and sounds awesome thats going to hold together for a bit longer than the 20v did πŸ™‚

To get the engine running I had to rework the loom a bit… this was from a 3.2V6 TT (same as the engine) and I needed to add a few wires in to cover all the sensors I would need..

There were a few other challenges to overcome… the PAS pipework needed a bit of work to make it reach and fit as the engine leans forward compared to the 20v so moves everything about… I also had to work out the coolant hoses as there were a whole bunch of pipes I wouldn’t actually need so simplified that too…

Here it is so far…

Looking rather fetching in there I must say… I obviously am not going to be able to go OEM like I did on the 20v so this will be a simple clean build…

The engine runs fine and baseline tuning is going well…

VE map is getting there and I really need to drive the car a bit more but… I have an issue with the clutch currently… turns out I was sent a flywheel for a 2.8 VR and the clutch for a 3.2 VR… I didn’t realise this and so I literally had no clutch disengagement at all…

Once I had discovered the issue I swapped the clutch out for a 20v one and fitted a 4 puck plate instead… this is the right clutch but something was still clearly wrong as the pedal would randomly stay down and bite point was all over the play… smacked of a hydraulic issue…

Next job was to change the master cylinder… much easier with the VR than if it still had the 20v in…

Sadly this did not fix the issue so I need to take the gearbox off again and swap out the slave cylinder which I am kicking myself for not doing when I fitted the 20v clutch (slave was new when I fitted the R32 clutch)

Ah well… that should happen soon but in the mean time the old girl is parked up as I can’t risk driving her knowing the clutch could fail at anytime..

Once the clutch is sorted I can carry on tuning the engine as it won’t be wasted once the turbo goes on… there is still going to be off boost moments and this will baseline that..

I’ll just leave you with this short video… the VR6 engine note is just fantastic πŸ™‚

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