The Great Van Damn Thread

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by a1fa, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    There is something intimidating about drum brake system. The little springs, the big springs, tight spaces, and everything in between is horrific if you have never done anything like that. I'm not very "mechanically' inclined, but I can reverse engineer just about anything. (read dissemble).

    Prior to dis-assembly I took a few pictures, jotted a few notes, and "replicated" the existing setup on the floor below.

    [​IMG]

    The disassembly was fairly quick with a big lever, and proper tools. 5 minutes later and I had new shoes, and springs installed.

    [​IMG]

    It took me another 10 minutes to reinstall locking springs.

    [​IMG]

    At first I tried to fight the new hardware and it was not working correctly.
    The spring was a few millimeters longer, and the locking nail? was a few mm shorter. Swap it for the old hardware, and install was a breeze.

    The second drum was even faster, and I didn't even bother taking pictures.

    The next order of business was to tackle clutch slave and clutch master. I dreaded this moment because clutch slave cylinder was really hard to get to with limited space, but with the right tools it proved to be a breeze. Moving onto the clutch master cylinder, and that was a challenge in itself - not mechanically, but just how awkward it was working sideways.

    Here is me trying to push clutch rod into clutch master cylinder.

    [​IMG]

    The problem was, with the angle at hand, I was trying to push a 4mm rod, through a 1mm hole dust boot. Bring protection, and plenty of lube -- she slid right in (after I bored it a bit).

    With clutch pedal taken care of, it was onto the most important business -- the brake master cylinder. Another item that I dreaded getting into due to limited space, but it proved to be a breeze..

    [​IMG]

    Stuff sure likes to fall apart with "3000" miles on the clock:

    [​IMG]

    ...and the culprit to broken master cylinder...
    ...lack of maintenance and neglect of brake fluid in addition to brute force, and stomping on the brake to test the L-Jet mixture... :deal

    [​IMG]

    That's sludge, and grime -- the same I pulled out of my rear brake cylinders.
  2. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I'm super upset. The brake adjuster locking lever broke off -- twice!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I did the root cause analysis today, and the culprit was a sticking rear brake cylinder because it was leaking on one side. The prolonged pressure caused the locking lever to move out of adjustment, which in turn forced the lever on the inside, and caused additional bind.

    After wswarz welded the lever back, I reassembled the unit and watched the brake, and it snapped again.

    Not to others; it actually may be worth the extra $500 to go and get rear disk brakes!
  3. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Sometimes it may just be worth your wile to spend a bit extra on an item and get a quality part. I am sourcing all necessary adapters to convert my rear brakes to disc brakes.
  4. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    A fellow inmate here helped me weld a bung into the exhaust -- it's official -- one step closer to microSquirt.

    [​IMG]

    A co worker of mine will help me make a wiring harness on Saturday, and then the show is on!
  5. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    ...and here we go. I spent half of the day today detailing the engine bay, removing the existing wiring harness, and going to the junkyard searching for parts and connectors. I took my intake boot to the junk yard to find something that would closely fit my vehicle, but with built in sensors. After visiting numerous Chevys as recommended by a Chevy friend, I was frustrated that everything was either massive, or odd looking..... On a whim I went to check out the Ford side, and a 2000-2007 Ford Taurus row caught my eye...

    lo and behold -- intake plumbing that fits perfectly onto my throttle body, has built in plug for the air temperature sensor, 2 nipples for fast-idle actuator, and exhaust tank vent, however no provision for PCV. It is such a perfect fit that I decided to fabricate a special exhaust for PCV to be vented under the motor.. but more on that later...

    I also toyed with microsquirt location. Nothing is cast in stones as of yet.
    I will be using MAP+MAF, TPS, IAT,CTS to make all this work!

    [​IMG]

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  6. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I have several options on the airbox; either use K&N Cone filter, or fabricate a box for the flat paper filter out of either vintage. Either option is fine with me. Motor is going to breathe slightly better as it is, and the intake may be a bit louder. The mission is to keep everything as stock as possible without modifying any single thing, so that the vehicle could be put back to the original state. However, one thing that dawned to me is that coil is directly switched through the ignition switch. This will be changed so it is fused and switched through the main relay, without any permanent modifications to the existing harness. Wiring.. ugh!

    I always pondered why I am not any good at soldering or crimping, then it hit me.. practice makes perfect -- I don't do it often to be proficient -- so I spent some time practicing, and then purchasing the right tool for the job.

    [​IMG]

    The progression is obvious. I started with cheap crimp tools, and it shows. I did end up adapting and making better crimps.... However, the right tool makes a big difference as I will have to build a new harness almost from scratch.
  7. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Location, location, location... Premium flat real-estate that is easy to get is scarce. I am tentatively choosing the area close to the coil to mount the computer, relays, and fuse block:

    [​IMG]

    Here, I am just resting the components, (battery has been disconnected) so I can see how much space I have to work with. I don't want to be close to the coil due to the noise it may produce, and that may mean the coil gets migrated south to the engine tin shield.
  8. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Flat surfaces are really hard to come by. I ended up mounting the fuse block horizontally. I should have probably mounted this vertically, but with vibrations, I am keeping the hotside upside, and cold side down side. We will see if it will hold up.

    [​IMG]

    I ended up removing the MAF sensor, and decided to pass due to complexity. I can always circle back and wire 'er up. It's looking good so far. Couple of more days of slowly working on this, and I'll make a video of first crank!

    [​IMG]
  9. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Today I fabricated a spacer and an adaptor to go from 10mm extra fine course to 3/8" pipe thread to run a GM sensor in stock VW type4 temperature sensor II location:

    Volkswagen Temperature Sensor II on the left. GM Coolant Temperature Sensor on the right.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    More progress.. Finishing up the brunt of the wiring harness. I think I want to be able to drop the motor, partially at least. without having to unplug anything... So there will be a bit of extra inches of slack. I ended up using a the ballast resistor plug from a spare stock vanagon harness I had lying around. This way I can use my low impedance injectors with the microsquirt setup.

    This is what the ballast resistor looks like:
    [​IMG]

    Five "AMP" connectors, 4 black AMP connects are for the injectors, red leads go to the resistor, black leads go to the ECU. The single green AMP connector is for the stock vanagon "fast-idle" auxiliary air regulator. This will be wired inline with the fuel pump; red goes to the fuel pump relay, black goes to the engine block/ground.

    [​IMG]


    Tomorrow I will spend the day wiring up the rest of the sensors, and getting it all mounted and zip-tied accordingly.
  11. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    1 Year Progression:
    I bought the van looking like this:
    [​IMG]

    I did a bit of surgery to get it to run and look better:
    [​IMG]

    ...and now, a year later..
    [​IMG]

    This is what keeps me going back! Looking back, and knowing how much further I've advanced! :D Instant gratification!
  12. Mr. Vintage

    Mr. Vintage Family Dude

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    The Palouse
    Looking good, I'm anxious to hear how it runs.
  13. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I'm exhausted. I took a day off from work on Friday to get things finished and buttoned up, and didn't even get 1/3 of the way into it... Today, Saturday, I spent a whole day trying to get it done, and guess what, I'm now 2/3 into the wiring... To add insult to the injury, I purchased (and almost wired in) a narrow-band o2 sensor. Monday, I'll try to order a wide-band unit with built in controller... but the van will not be ready for the big 3000 mile trip; unless it arrives on Tuesday and a fuel map materializes out of thin air.

    The rats nest is looking a bit less like a rats nest. I put a nice layer of insulation (3M Electrical Tape) between the body and the fuse block.It should stay there for next 30 years, but if I even sense that it is coming loose I'll be putting a plastic backing to the fuse block.
    [​IMG]

    I took Colin's advice and used the Vanagon S-Boot. This will allow me to run stock AAR for fast-idle, and more importantly, it will allow me to vent the crank into the intake. I feel more modifications are in order to secure this lousy excuse for a pimp looking filter. Maybe some ABS plastic tubing to get the filter to clear the engine bay; and a mounting bracket to hang below from the stock FCU mounting hole?
    [​IMG]

    The van is at least ready to power-up the microsquirt, and start calibrating senosrs. :lurk
  14. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Wiring has been completed. I'm missing an o2 sensor. Somehow I foo-bared and bought a narrow band.... Today I did final test checks, and first crank....

    [​IMG]

    For some reason microsquirt is not picking up RPM. I believe this to be a setting in TunerStudio; so now I am waiting for expert TunerStudio help.
  15. Keith

    Keith Slabbing it

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2006
    Oddometer:
    927
    Location:
    901
    That's quite a bit of progress, keep it up.
  16. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Here is the progress:
    [​IMG]

    CT, IAT, MAP, RPM in tune. Wideband o2 comes in the mail tomorrow. Now I need to figure out why the fuel pump is not coming on, and why injectors are not spraying.

    Both fuel pump and injectors come on with injector test, so that piece is working!
  17. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    Here is the almost finished product....

    [​IMG]

    I have been driving it around and wow -- its making a huge difference.
    The torque, the hp! It feels like there is so much more power in this thing.
    It feels like its no longer lugging around; but it is alive! The timing is stock factory; 7.5 BTDC at idle with vacuum hose disconnected. I cant wait to move this to the recommended 28 BTDC @ 3500 RPM. This thing will be a monster!
  18. Ride_There

    Ride_There Will ride for bacon.

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,125
    Location:
    MN, the state where nothing is allowed.
    Nice work!
  19. Mr. Vintage

    Mr. Vintage Family Dude

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    867
    Location:
    The Palouse
    Good deal, anxious for the video. :evil
    Is that the disconnected fifth injector on the plenum? Guess it isn't needed now....
  20. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    13,906
    Location:
    Arkansas
    :freaky I wanted new High impedance injectors to replace the 30 year old low impedance injectors, and therefore eliminate the resistor pack. The old injectors needed cleaning, so what a hell... i went out and purchased 4 new High impedance injectors used in newer Vanagon. It took my two hours to install them, and re-wire the system... so far so good.. the engine immediately idled and accelerated better, however, my noise problem is back. The HighZ injectors are creating noise issues with my MAP and TPS (No TPS Sensor, Signal->Ground) inputs.. It's making the microsquirt freeze-up.. bummer.. :huh