Welcome to the first technical installment of NGP’s Project RallyeVRT. We have been having a blast working on this project, and we are extremely pleased with all the positive response we’ve had in the Project Rallye VRT Forum. On a side note, I would love to follow up with all the Rallye owners in North America when this project concludes. Getting the Rallyes now residing over here all together in one place would be an awesome showing! (A showing that all you fortunate Europeans take for granted…) Please keep the input and questions coming- I really enjoy the feedback!
Let me begin this tech update with a little summary of our goals on this project: Of course we want to build a really bad ass VW – this goes without saying. But, in accomplishing this, we hope to educate, inform, and inspire everyone who follows this build up. We hope to educate people on some basic VW history, special models, and even what works and what doesn’t when considering your own swaps and modifications. We want to inform everyone as to what products we like to use, and how they can help make big improvements on their own rides. And finally, we hope to inspire each and every Vortexer to get more into modding and enjoying their fine VAG product. We’re convinced that these are the best cars – and the best group of car enthusiast in the world! This project should give a great glimpse into just some of what is possible when you get a little crazy with some excellent aftermarket parts and a lot of hard work, whether that work’s performed by either you or your favorite local shop!
Now for the real shocking revelation on Project RallyeVRT… it will be the most open and honest project build-up many of you will ever read. You will not get incorrect info, you will not be told that something is a “secret,” or, “we can’t tell you because then everyone will know how we do it.” We want you to know! If we have something you can use, whether it be a part we can provide, or just the knowledge on how to perform a modification, we want to make sure you have access to it. And I personally guarantee that if something doesn’t work on this project, we’ll share this with you as well. We all continue to learn as we go- this is just part of the fun.
On to the good stuff! Project RallyeVRT is getting a wonderful blend of custom fabbed goodies, as well as a lot of “off the shelf” parts that can be supplied through NGP as well as many other enthusiastic suppliers around the country. Starting with the teardown and cleaning, we were very pleased with the overall condition of our Rallye Golf. No hidden issues or little gremlins hiding in dark corners of the unibody. I am convinced that we could not find a more solid basis for this build-up, which is important in any project (remember this when searching for that perfect ride to drop a lot of horsepower into)! After completion of the engine bay prep and subframe detailing, Ron Weaver, our head project tech and fabricator, proceeded directly into a complete tear down and inspection of the engine and transmission. Once again, we were extremely pleased with what we found – an incredibly clean and unadulterated drivetrain. So bring on the goodies I say!
We started with the bottom end. With Forged Pistons from Ross Racing Pistons and a set of incredibly strong Pauter Rods, we were well on our way to “bulletproofing” the little 12V. We are leaving the bore and stroke stock for now, since the cylinder walls are perfect and we are working on a very tight time line. I believe our choice of turbo and engine management will provide us with our HP goals, even while staying at 2.8L of displacement. One upgrade we went with on the pistons was the optional Anodized Hardcoating. This is the same treatment used in such circles as NASCAR to extend piston life under extreme conditions – which our VR will certainly see. This is not the “sprayed on” thermal barrier coating that some companies try to sell you on. A lot of those products can be chipped away with a healthy thumb nail! Anodized hardcoating can not even be removed with a metal file. This is the real deal. A full balance of all bottom end parts was in order prior to assembly, as well as a call to our friends at Northside Imports in New Jersey for some OEM replacement parts. A bottom end gasket kit complete with all gaskets, o-rings, and seals, as well as all new coolant system parts and rod and main bearings were soon in hand and promptly installed using ARP hardware throughout. Next on the list was the cylinder head. This was a good example of less is more. We have had dozens of VR6s on our dyno with different levels of headwork and modifications, and have seen the numbers. For the amount of boost we will be running, and the reliability we demand, a simple NGP stage 2 modification process will fit the bill. This is comprised of gasket matching, porting and polishing to equalize air flow across the cylinders (flow bench confirmed), a three angle valve job, and clearancing of the valve guides. Our stage 3 includes some reshaping of the ports to encourage certain flow characteristics – these characteristics do not apply to extremely boosted motors, hence the stage 2 was sufficient. The last portion of the headwork was completed with the help of our very good friends at Techtonics Tuning. They supplied a set of billet camshafts, and some very lite and strong new titanium retainers. These are just some of the brand new products Colin, Darryl, Jeff and the boys have in their arsenal for the new year. Our prepped VR is now topped off with a matchported Euro 2.9 intake manifold for proper air distribution across the cylinders, and both factory cast exhaust manifolds have been ported and gasket matched in preparation of the custom Turbo manifold.
Now for the gearbox. This is one driveline component for which I truly feel sorry! I liken it to manufacturing a target for the firing range. We are taking great care and attention in the trans build, knowing it is likely getting sent to its death. We just hope the end of its road comes well after we are done playing with the car for the season – who knows? All we can do is give it the best chance at life by incorporating some super-strong replacements for the most trouble prone areas. A call to Mr. Peloquin took care of this quite nicely as he is the definitive source for the rare O2C Syncro Limited Slip Differential. As we have grown to expect, our Peloquin Diff arrived complete and ready to install. Gary includes the speedo gear and diff bearings (already pressed on I might add!!!), as well as the very important bolt kit that eliminates the factory rivets on the ring gear which love to shear off and poke their heads out of the side of your trans case. I think almost all VW owners have had this experience or know someone who has! Before bolting our fresh trans to the motor, we installed the necessary equipment to hold the massive torque captive as it transmits from engine to transmission… the clutch and flywheel. This part is all business. We needed a super-strong and preferably lighter than stock flywheel, with a clutch and pressure plate combo capable of holding over 500 lb-ft of torque. This is no easy task, considering I want to be able to drive this car on the street whenever the notion hits me. The flywheel we decided on is our own tried and true unit, the NGP lightened and balanced OEM wheel that is virtually indestructable. David at Spec Clutch came up with the rest of the equation by supplying us with a custom built 4 puck, sprung center unit with one of their strongest pressure plates available. This isn’t the hottest ticket if you’re a professional drag racer, but the sprung center will be forgiving enough to drive to the grocery store and back for some milk or bread without wearing a knee brace. The few times the Rallye sees the drag strip should not be often enough to warrant any extra rigidity.
Well, that should keep you all up to date for now. There are some details I may have skipped over – they should be minor, if worth mentioning at all. Please remember you can always inquire on the Project Rallye VRT forum if there is something you feel I have missed, or if you just have a question or comment regarding the latest installment of this article – I love to hear from you all!
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