This article is part of a series of articles called the VWvortex Super Beetle Project. We are transforming a stock 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo six-speed manual into an AWD, 500hp street car. Our goal is to make the transformation as close to how an original equipment manufacture (OEM) like Volkswagen would have built it to start with. That means we are diving into the Volkswagen empire parts bin to assemble this car. The AWD system, transmission, spare tire well, rear brakes and a few other odds and ends will come out of a 2013 Golf R. The stock Beetle Turbo engine, a 200hp 2.0l direct injection four-cylinder turbo will get APR’s Stage IV upgrade and be a fully built motor that will output more than 500hp when we are done. Mating all of these parts and pieces together and doing it under a tight frame just makes this challenge even more fun.
You can find the main project index page HERE. On that index page you’ll find all the installments so far, large photo galleries and a list of sponsors that helped make this project happen.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we do putting it together!
On to the next installment…
So begins our engine build…
Our plan all along is to be able to break into the 500hp realm with the EA888 2.0T that comes stock with the Beetle. However we don’t want to slap a big turbo on this just to make crazy peak horsepower with lousy low end. That whole wait, wait, wait, wait, whoooooooosh-slam-redline rubber band thing just doesn’t appeal to us. We wanted to make some decent peak power but still retain bottom end pull as much as possible. APR set out to accomplish just that with their MAX-R Golf R project and we wondered if the same could be done with the EA888 2.0T which is the newer version of the 2.0T than what is in the Golf R. After a few phone calls with APR, we felt confident that we could reach 500hp and still have a powerband with decent power under the curve.
What APR’s guys are going to do is install what they call a Stage IV turbo upgrade to our stock 2.0T engine. This will be a completely built motor that gets completely torn down, bored and honed .5mm over and rebuilt with a large number of upgraded and new components. To give you an idea of the number of pieces involved, take a look at the photo below of the rough equivalent of what we are doing (this photo is of the Golf R engine Stage IV which is nearly identical):
The complete list of mods includes:
- APR Stage IV GTX Turbocharger System
- APR Boost Tap
- APR High Pressure Fuel Pump
- APR Low Pressure Fueling System
- APR Rail Pressure Release Valve
- APR Intercooler System
- APR Stage IV ECU Upgrade with ESP Delete
- APR Stage IV High Flow Head
- APR Stage IV High Flow Intake Manifold RF Delete
- APR Stage IV Low Pressure Fueling System
- APR Stage IV High Strength Coated Pistons & Wrist Pins
- APR Stage IV High Strength Connecting Rods & Bearings
- APR Stage IV Balanced Rotating Assembly
- APR RSC Turboback Exhaust System
- DXD Racing Stage III Clutch
- Volkswagen Racing Short Shifter
So here is our stock Beetle 2.0T EA888 engine:
So the entire engine is torn down completely and any parts that will be used again will get a thorough ultra-sonic bath. Once that’s done the block is bored and honed .5mm over to give the new pistons and rings a chance to seat properly. APR then painted the block red:
APR is testing suppliers for various components including the rods and pistons. Here is an example of new rods which get installed into the block. These will use the Golf R’s ceramic bearings:
The crank is also balanced which means removing some material at key locations:
Once the bottom end is buttoned up, we move on to the head. We plan to do head work to improve air flow through the head. However APR’s new engine dyno and flow bench aren’t quite complete, so we are going to wait to do the head work after SEMA when we’ve got more time. So the Beetle’s head is reattached to the top of the block:
One of the keys to this project is to try and maintain decent low-end torque as much as possible while achieving high-end horsepower to get us to 500hp. For this project APR recommended using the GTX2867R Turbocharger from Garrett Honeywell. The GTX2867R is a new turbocharger unit from Garrett that offers a lightweight billet compressor wheel with “next generation geometry” for extremely fast turbocharger spool and high-end airflow numbers. It’s able to spool very quickly while still offering the headroom necessary for top end power.
In order to mate the GTX unit to the 2.0T it will need a new manifold, new exhaust, new oil and coolant lines, new turbo inline, new turbo outlet, boost and vacuum references lines, wastegate brackets and software modifications among other things. For an exhaust manifold we are using APR’s trick Iconel manifold:
APR’s exhaust manifold is made from Inconel 625, which is a very high temperature nickel-chromium-based superalloy designed to withstand extreme temperature changes without expanding, contracting, melting or cracking under stress. This material is expensive material and a PITA to machine. APR’s piece is also investment cast which results in a denser material and then CNC machined at their shop. APR has also designed the manifold so that the exhaust pulses are timed to hit the turbo charger at equal intervals for optimum spool characteristics.
Here is the engine with most of the bolt-on upgrades complete:
On the other side we can see the GTX turbo, the Iconel manifold and APR’s turbo hoses:
With AWD now in the car, one of our main concerns is a clutch/flywheel upgrade. We need to have an extremely robust system in place as 500hp and AWD can be an easy recipe for a fried clutch. For this particular installation we’re using a DXD Stage III Endurance Clutch System:
The Stage III Endurance system is designed for road racing. It’s able to hold quite a bit of torque due to the increased clamping force of the pressure plate and the increased coefficient of friction on the Kevlar disc.The flywheel is also upgraded with a DXD single mass steel design that’s made from hot rolled low carbon steel. It’s resistant to warping and perfectly suited for the disc’s friction materials. The lightweight flywheel will eliminate rotating mass attached to the engine, freeing up a little more power. The flywheel is being installed here:
So we head back to the transmission next. If you remember we had the wrong front limited slip differential sent to us. Well the proper unit arrived and we are finally able to get our transmission back together. So in order to more easily fit the bearing race over the differential it needs to be heated up:
Then the race gets installed on our now complete front limited slip:
Driveline lash then needs to be measured and shimmed if necessary:
While the transmission was out, we also installed a Volkswagen Racing Short Shift Kit to shorten up the shift throws:
Next we move to the front where we have started installing APR’s front mount intercooler. This new intercooler has an expanded surface area, aluminum end tanks and will help keep those charge air temps a bit lower:
While that work is going on, we need to mount the Golf R saddle gas tank and deal with the fuel filler neck. To mount the tank requires new tank straps to hold it in place:
And here is the tank installed and buttoned up:
Next the Beetle’s fuel fill neck needs to be mated to the Golf R’s fuel fill neck. APR used fuel rated hose from their motorsports applications to connect the two pieces together. They also heated the two ends to give the tube ends a bead roll for the hose and clamps to grip:
Lastly, APR grabbed the traction control switch out of the Golf R and wired it up into the Beetle where it will be hidden in the glove box for now till we can get a proper Beetle ESP off button:
So our countdown to SEMA continues. Things are coming together quickly and we’ll have lots of do over the next several days. Stay tuned for our next installment coming very soon…
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More photos from today’s progress can be found in the gallery below in much larger sizes:
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