Almost Forgot…

BTW,after she got in from work,the Wife and I went for a cruise around some country 2 lanes with the top down* :)

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*This was our first time dropping the top on the Beetle. (Note that the power top system is still inoporative,we put the top down and back up manually) This isn’t our first ragtop,however (those that have read my  drivel long enough know this,LOL),we’ve owned a few over the years,including a 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder GT (sadly,the only pics that I had of it were on the computer that was lost during 2011’s house fire :'( ) and a the 1994 Ford Mustang GT convertible that I only sold off 2 1/2 years ago (a pic…)


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VW New Beetle Project: Some Paint Work,and New Arrivals

Short and sweet,as it’s late,I’ve had no daily nap,and I’m beat,LOL! I had to stay at home today and wait for FedEx,as they were making a much anticipated delivery today (means I had to forgo my normal mid day nap too),so after I was finished with the daily have-to’s I was bored and looking for something to pass the time*. I decided to do a little accent spray work on the Beetle,namely,the big plastic engine cover.

I spent only about 30 minutes prep-time (cleaning,scuffing with a scotch-brite pad,and masking) and 2 minutes spray-time,so I definitely feel it was worth the meager effort for the results. See for yourself…




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While I was there removing and later re-installing the engine cover,I had to stare at that faded-out hood emblem (all black around the VW symbol has faded to non-existant),and with a black Sharpie in hand (wish I’d had a blue one,LOL),I colored it in a bit as well…


Not very long after (this was mid-day),the FedEx driver arrived with 2 large boxes,containing 2 still-fairly-large boxed each inside of them,with each containing….my new 18″ wheels :D I settled on the Ice Wheels 5 spokers in 18″ x 7.5″.


So now the quest is to save for tires (as well as lowering spring installation,4 wheel alignment,rear brake rotors,the parts needed to safely bump both my timing and boost level,and a few interior tid-bits I’ve found that I want as well),LOL! :P If I ever actually get off my bum and list my last SCX10 (the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon RTR) on eBay and it sells,there should be plenty for tires and spring install,otherwise,I’ll chip away $50 per week at it I suppose. I’ve decided on 225/40-18″ tire size,though I’m undecided on brand/make as of yet. As these will be “fair weather wheels”,mileage rating isn’t as important as handling and “look” for tires on these wheels. I’m still undecided if I will Plastidip them with the Wheel Kit that I bought from–it being a bit darker than the color listed on their website (well…the caps on the cans are anyways). The cap shows a color almost exactly the same hue of blue that the engine cover now is…thoughts? Too dark of a blue for wheels on a dark grey car?


*Not bored enough to clean off the table-will-be-model-workbench and build,however XD

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New Beetle Updates and Thoughts

So I had the new timing belt kit (which included new belt,new pulleys and adjusters,and water pump) and the new exhaust system installed at the same time a few weeks ago,and have a few hundred miles on it since. I’m well pleased with it so far (the exhuast…one doesn’t notice the other stuff unless it’s gone bad :P ). I did have to cut a hole in the rear bumper cover for the tip to stick through*,but it turned out half-way decent looking for now. I’m loving the sounds…loud enough to like,not obnoxious and we can carry a converse at normal levels when putting along down the highway. It kind-of irks me that people automatically just assume that all I did was weld on a “fart-can” muffler (since the exhaust isn’t seen unless one crawls down to look under–and yes,I had someone comment that they’d assumed such),but that doesn’t really matter much I guess,LOL! I’m happy with it.

There were some definite changes in how it ran,noticed immediately after the install. There’s a bit more hp throughout the rpm range with the intake/exhaust combo (as proven by a dyno-run recently),but with 3″ pipes the back pressure is effected (effectively gone,LOL) and there was a noticeable “flat spot” in the power at W.O.T. (wide open throttle),so the next thing that I did was order and install a Nuespeed P-Chip module (a “power chip”),which increased the boost level slightly,as well as changed the engine’s timing among other things, The “flat spot” is still there,but barely noticeable now (hp was again increased on the dyno,it’s up from an unmodified 132hp at the front wheels to 197hp at the front wheels now…yeah,it’s noticeable :D ). I may look into bumping the boost level slightly again (currently running around 12.5psi,I’m thinking of going up to 15-16.0 psi maximum,I’m afraid that any higher might decrease durability of the turbo itself,but unless I’m mistaken,Turbo S models ran 16.0 psi when stock,for comparison).

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Here’s a short video I shot for exhaust sound. Not the best video (even out of my “not-the-best-video” shooting),but it was cold out,and I was both driving and filming :P

As I’ve sold several of my RC rigs in the last couple of weeks** (and have the budget for it from that),I’ve been looking at 18″ wheels for the Beetle,which was in the plan from the beginning,though I’d expected to not have budget for wheels this year***…it’s been less than a month since I had a set of 4 new tires installed on the stock 16″ wheels. The thought had always been “run the stockers in bad weather months,the 18’s in nice weather months” though.

I’ve narrowed the choices (of wheels that fit into budget including shipping) to these two…

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…and am leaning towards the top set. I have on hand a “Wheel Kit” from to Plastidip a set of four wheels in their Cobalt Blue with a matte/satin finish.

I may order the wheels (either set) this week,or I may hang onto the budget a while longer,I just don’t know yet,LOL! I think either of those would look sweet in Cobalt Blue on my Beetle,especially after I get the lowered springs installed. Thoughts?



*It was either cut a hole in it for the tip to stick through,leave the tip off and the outlet hidden behind the bumper cover–which would have inevitably melted the bumper cover–or use a 90 degree tip coming out of the muffler,which would have robbed hp and defeated the purpose of the exhaust’s design of a straight shot out.

**We also sold the 2014 Jayco camper/travel trailer last week finally! :D

***If I do buy a set of wheels,I wouldn’t be buying tires/installing them right away,I would either need to set-back/save budget for another new set of tires,or if/when my remaining RC rigs sell (assuming I ever get around to posting an ad for them,LOL) I could order them up then.

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New Post on the RC Blog: Prossibly the Final Post There


Prossibly: Steveism,meaning more than possibly,less than probably ;) :P

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VW New Beetle Project: CAI Install (and a few new pics)

With the weather being a bit warmer (if a wet mess of snow melt and a bit of rain,LOL),after running a few errands*,I installed the new cold air intake (CAI,”short ram” or whatever you want to call it). These are simple and easy to DIY upgrades that actually do help to increase horsepower and fuel mileage**. For this particular unit,I needed only a pair of screw drivers (1 for prying,1 for removing/installing screws ;) ),and about 15 minutes.

One simply removes the stock airbox,and replaces it with the new air intake. It IS that simple,LOL! For this ap,with the way everything was made,I was able to reuse the bottom half of the stock airbox to both secure the new,as well as give me something to insulate to help it suck more cool air than hot engine air. I suppose later I will look for/make a way to route cold non-engine-compartment air to the intake,but for now it’ll do. Before pic…



After pics…

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A few pics of the car after it’s first bath (since our owning it) over the weekend…

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Tomorrow morning,the Wife will follow me to a local (and trusted) shop,and I’ll drop it off (by apt) to have the new timing belt kit (with all pulleys,adjusters,and water pump),AND the new complete turbo-back exhaust system installed (may take him 2 days to get to all of it). The new exhuast is considerably larger diameter pipes all the way back,with a much freer flowing muffler,and I’ve added a free-flow cat to the system as well,all mandrel bent pipes of course (smoother inside flow ;) ). I will still wait a bit on warmer weather to install the lowered springs,either DIY (if my Dad’s willing to lend his expertise),or pay the same shop.

Sometime this week,I think I will make an order from for a “matte/satin wheel kit” in one of their blue colors (whichever looks to be a good match for the air filter and the springs) and give my hand a try at Plasti-dipping the wheels. LOL,after some long talks (that had her rolling her eyes and continuously glancing at her watch as hint to shut-up XD ) with the Wife,I may eventually Plastidip the entire car body for a completely different look…it’s inexpensive,I can DIY (I’ve some experience painting/spraying cars,and access to a garage and needed equipment),and if I were to mess it up–or not like it/change my mind,LOL,I can simply peel it back off :P We’ll see :)





*Including picking up it’s new perminent/non-temp/paper license tag. As on th eFJ and the Jeep before it,I sprung for the US Army Veteran license plate–it’s only $10 extra,and only honorably discharged Vets can get one,and I’m proud to have served,so….. :P

**I have owned 2 vehicles in my time that were actually dyno-tuned/checked,and have personally seen honest HP increases of 4HP-9HP at the wheels with only a CAI install (vehicles were a 1990 VW Passat GJ with the 2.0L DOHC 4 cylinder at 4HP gain over stock,and the ’94 Mustang GT ragtop I had for several years saw a 9HP gain at the wheels on it’s 5.0L H.O./302 engine)

Posted in Beetle, VW Beetle Project | 1 Comment

Beetle Parts Update

Just a quick note,as we’ve been uber busy around here lately*. I did in fact order the exhaust that I mentioned in the last post,it’s shipped and enroute to me…


I had decided that I was going to make/build a “short ran” style of air intake,as my dad and I have done a few times for other vehicles over the years. This would have cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $30-50 in part/materials. That changed when I found one on eBay new for $34.95 shipped,LOL (why build basically the same exact thing,when I could buy one that will work as good and look much better? ;) XD ),so it’s also ordered and enroute as we speak.


Lastly (as far as parts I have ordered),I found a set of (new) lowered springs,that when installed,replacing the factory springs,will lower the ride height of the whole car 1.25-1.5″,which is as low as I wanted to go anyways,this car being low to begin with. This will elliminate most of the gap between the tires and the fenders in the wheelwell,giving a cleaner look. It may also improve cornering ability slightly (less body roll,lower center of gravity,etc),but being such a minute change,it will be negligable. I was looking for a slightly better look/stance,these will fit my needs perfectly :)


Lastly,after some local reseach and several reviews read,I’ve found the shop that I will entrust to install the exhaust,as well as that timng belt kit that I have for it. Labor is going to run $400 for both the timing belt kit and the exhaust combined (total price,tax included). They mentioned they could also install the lowered springs for me (for an additional $200…),but I think that I’ll wait until it’s a bit warmer weather (and all this snow has gone :P ) and install these myself,save that money for a rainy day or something**. I’ve done similar work on my vehicles before,and if I were to run into anything that I have issues with,my dad is much more mechanically inclined than I :P

Stay warm,my friends :)




*Especially with the snow that hammered us early on this week. I’ve been out helping with local volunteers for the city a bit with the FJ Cruiser,yanking stuck motorists loose at night (when being stuck/trapped in a ditch could turn very serious),among other things.

**Well….I could use a new (used) XBox 360….the Boy’s had stopped working (and the repair estimate was high enough to make it worth more to…) so I had “loaned” mine to him,which he has since torn up (throwing a b-ball in his room,sigh). He’d bought him a new (used) one with his Christmas $ that he’d received from family members this year,but I have none to play…my Halo trigger finger is itchy,LOL,so I may run out to Gamestop (where we’r eon first name basis’ with every emplyoee :P ) and pick one up since I have a little budget left and no XBox to play :P

Posted in Beetle, General Life Stuff, VW | 2 Comments

VW Beetle Ragtop-Random Thoughts

So I have put around 450-500 miles on the Beetle since getting repairs finished/getting it running (yes…I’ve been drivign it lots :P ),and have a better idear of how I feel about it then I did lost post. I will say up front,I’m really diggin’ it,lots. On the one hand,it reminds me of years gone by when the Wife and I owned vintage air cooled Beetles/Super Beetles,and on the other,it feels as if a modern car with all the modern conveniences and niceties…a smooth blend of old world and new. For me at any rate–I do understand that this modern Beetle is basically a VW Golf with a round body attatched…but I digress,it does bring back fond memories (as well as hide the bad ones–like that winter we had 3 solid weeks of >15 degrees F and I drove that ’69 Beetle with no heat-exchangers because it was all that we had at the moment,LOL!).

So far,I’ve averaged around 25mpg’s with all city driving (and a bit of warm-up before driving on colder days),and as high as 33.87mpg’s when all highway,with an average of weekly driving being around 26-28mpgs. About what was expected.

The interior has proven comfy for me,if a bit cramped,the cruise control works flawlessly,it’s proven easy to park,the butt-warmers (heated leather seating ;) :P ) have kept my bum happy on cold days,and with 150HP on tap (with no noticeable turbo lag time) it’s fun to drive. Also,unlike our previous Beetles (all air cooled),the heat is awesome…just like any modern car/truck should have,LOL!

I have a timing belt kit (with water pump) on order,and may have found a trust-worthy mechanic to install it all,as well as have decided where I will have any/all exhaust work done (same place) should I need/do any. On that note…

On the recommendation of a Facebook friend,when I’d decided that I wanted a cat-back performance exhaust upgrade,I surfed Megan Racing for their unit,as alternative systems were priced considerably higher (nearly $700 plus labor-speaking of Magnaflow here),while at $390 shipped,they offer a nice mandrel-bent and mirror pollished pipes/partsas well as dyno-backed claims of around 12-15 honest horsepower and 3-5mpg gains. I ordered one for myself. Unfortunately,Megan Racing Inc contacted me via email to tell me that they would be refunding my payment,as they no longer have that item (2 things…would have been nice had they,oh IDK,updaed their website and removed the unit,and since they received instant payment from me,it doesn’t seem right that I have to wait 3-5 business days for them to issue my refund–no,I’m ot very happy about it,but “them’s the breaks” as they say…whata ya gunna do?). A shame,it’s a good looking system that came well recommended from friends. Pics (though it matters not since I will not have op to own a set myself….)

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Since I’m not getting that unit (and since I have the time while I wait for them to half-heartedly refund my money),I’ve been surfing for another that isn’t priced outragiously*,and though it doesn’t carry as well of a known brand name,it DOES carry a similar waranty,as well as great customer reviews,I have found a replacement unit on eBay (new) of all places for a meager $179 shipped,AND unlike Magnaflow or Megan Racing’s units,this one comes with a downpipe**. Below is th eonly pic I could find of it. It looks like a very close copy of the Megan Racing parts (which,as I said,would not have came with a downpipe). Assuming they still have one in stock (I’ll ask first :P ),I will most likely order that unit when I have my refund in hand (or in Paypal,as it were). This leaves a bit of budget for other things I was thinking about ordering…


I have not decided which unit/brand to go with,but I also want to install a cold air intake–$179 shipped leaves plenty of budget for that (especially if,like when my Dad wanted one on a previously owned car…we make one ourselves). I also found a “power module” from a reputable company that pushes that budget only a few dollars,which I am seriously considering buying as well.

It’s basically a “power chip”,but specifically designed to be user adjusted/tuned,and specifically designed to increase output (both horsepower and fuel mileage) with my 20V turbo engine***. No worries,this unit is from a reputable company with years of experience,the module will not allow any changes that fall outside of the factory computer allowances,and is safe enough to the car that using it would not void a new car waranty. It will remap everything to optimise the turbo’s output,as well as all sensors and fuel system settings to match the user-friendly 10 settings it has offered (with a “10” being the most modified). All said and done (and disreguarding any lofty claims of “you’ll see 60 more horsepower and 10mpgs!”),after speaking with a dyno technician that I know (who works on all makes/models,including this one,but is a Honda-guy) with all of those parts,I could reach 30-32mpg’s in the city (when driven modestly,mind you),and upper mid 30’s on the highway,as well as see an honest to goodness 40-50 horsepower increase with each part tuned correctly–all on premium pump gas. Nice…a 50 horsepower gain (again,this is estimated,and with nearly double the turbo boost) is good for .5-.75 seconds off a car’s et at the drag strip :)

No,I’m not looking to project this out to build a “fast-Bug” or anything (maybe a bit of a “sleeper”,a car that’s quicker than anyone would expect by looking at it ;) ),LOL,but I do like to tinker. The mpg increases are actually what I’m after (well,and a better sound ;) ),any extra horsepower is just good gravy on the biscuit,as my Great Grandma used to say when I was young.

I wish that I had parts in hand (or installed already),so this is basically a “what I’m thinking about doing,but haven’t begun yet” thing I suppose,we’ll see when the time comes,LOL! Be for certain that I DO wish to make some mods to the car (in effort to increase the “fun to drive” ratio),including a slight drop in ride height to close the fender-well gap….down the road,of course,after fixing any issues in need.

So anyways,these are my random thoughts.

*$700 for a cat-back system (Magnaflow)…really?!? Deduct the $135 muffler and what you get for your hard fought $’s is basically general-steel pipes at around $200 per foot. Greed much?

**What makes more power and mileage improvements than any other exhaust parts ona turbo motor,I’ve discovered with researching,is the downpipe–that piece that bolts to the bottom end of the header/exhaust manifold through to the pipe before the catylitic converter.

***For example,my turbo is factory set to deliver only 8.7psi of boost–where-as the same engine in the Turbo S models are producing 180HP,at 12-16psi–safely. This module will allow me to crank it up to that amount as well,for a considerable gain in boost/horsepower and mileage.

Posted in Beetle, Cars | 8 Comments