As a complete contrast to "buy cheap car and keep it stock", here's a copypasta from my build thread elsewhere documenting the engine swap I've been waiting ages to do. Despite being a fairly brief account of how things went down, it's a long one so you might want to stick the kettle on...
After a considerable run of being away from home and life getting in the way, things suddenly looked a little more productive. I got married at the end of July (fantastic day, even better evening!) and whisked the new wife away to Paris for the week (lost my wedding ring less than 72hrs later); Some relatively interesting stuff on display on the Champs-Elysse, though waiting in line with kids to squeeze into that thing was more painful than I’d imagined in more ways than one…On my return to the UK I found myself working 6 miles from home with evenings and weekends to myself and disposable funds picking up a little. Game on…When I left the mob, I helped out at a local garage with some engine builds and odd bits. The owner gave me a call and mentioned that he was on holiday for a week, would I mind looking after the keys for him? I see a plan…In all honesty, I wasn’t really ready to pull the pin and swap things across but this was too good an opportunity to pass up so I jumped right in. I’d actually been considering hunting down a Golf to put it all into, but couldn’t find a black 3dr cheap enough to tempt me. When I inevitably write the Leon off I’ll revisit the idea for sure!Having a roof over my head, lights for working in the evening and the lift would make life infinitely easier, however I’d never undertaken any work like this before so it was all uncharted territory. Combined with the fact I only had the evenings in which to do this, plus needed to have the car out of the garage before Joe’s return at the weekend, I was going to have to put in a big push to get things done and learn fast. The following is a roughly-chronological run through of how things went down, though as is always the case with these things there was some back-and-forth messing about to make things fit, putting right minor niggles etc.I got the car on the lift and pulled the front end off. By the end of the first evening, things were stripped down to give full access to the engine and box etc, with fluids drained.My stockpile of parts was moved to the garage ready to be fitted, along with making Soph’s Golf a rear engined 1.8t for a while. Far easier to use the crane getting it out than dodgy manhandling the engine stand to get it in - I did point out that if the Golf was on air it’d have made life easier but she wasn’t having any of it The next job was to disconnect things mechanically/electrically, which gave a good chance for me to snoop around and familiarise myself with things I’d not yet played with. My plan had been to label everything I disconnected for ease of reinstallation, but I forgot the masking tape and couldn’t be fecked. Bit oily at the plug for cyl 3 – Fairly confident this was just the valve cover gasket showing signs of death fortunatelyNot too much later, I had everything disconnected and rigged the crane up. By the end of Tuesday evening, this was the result:Interesting to snoop around the things I’d not yet given much consideration and see how it was all laid out in the bay. I’m used to tracing systems on board submarines so this was all far more convenient, but I guess not something many people will ever opt to do!Quick split hose fix. I’d like to revisit a lot of the standard systems here to tidy them up/remove redundancy where I can, though this’ll have to wait until things are running right.Also fiddled about with a TFSI coilpack harness trim to make it fit and tidy things up a smidge. Not perfect, but it’ll do until I find time to sort out the rest.Next up was to prep the bay for the new turbo etc. This involved predominantly heatshielding things and minor modifications/rerouting of pipework and electrics.Lightly tickled the steering knuckle for clearance:Removed air con fwd of the bulkhead:Even found time to offer up the new 3” catback system. Will need a couple of minor tweaks to suit the Leon (rear bumper exit is located somewhat differently as you can see, for example) but no biggy:I also got the aux belt on. As I’d removed AC this needed to be shorter than stock, and I ended up with an 1123 IIRC (for anyone who stumbles across this in the future when searching, though due to the tensioner you’d get away with anything a few mm either side of this so don’t take it as gospel!)By the time I was done, I’d thrown in a fair load more heat protection, though doesn’t look too bad in this photo. Anything in the vicinity of the turbo has been either wrapped in tape or Nimbus type alu shield, and the DP will also be wrapped to help keep things a little cooler.Frustratingly I had a few issues with the cover plate for the SMF I’d planned to run, and given how pushed for time I was, I opted to stick with the standard DMF for now – it’s something I’m keen to revisit down the line, so at some point I’ll pull the box back out, fit the SMF and have the clutch plate relined. I bolted the box to the engine and swung things into place once more. I’d done this already, but only on the crane to check what needed work for clearance and this was the first time the new setup would be on its own mounts.I fitted a set of spare engine mounts that I’d filled with polyurethane. A number of people are doing this now, with most opting for a durometer in the region of 85A, however since this will be used predominantly as a daily for the foreseeable future I didn’t want to go too harsh so settled on a 70A durometer instead. Time will tell if this is a good shout, but I can always throw together a harder set if needs be – it’ll all come down to NVH in the cabin.With the exception of one iffy thread in the gearbox mount (no helicoils to hand, replacement ready to go in) all went well, though this was largely thanks to having the engine crane, lift and trolley jacks to hand to manhandle things. Fair play to anyone who single handedly does this without that lot!Next job was to get the downpipe tacked up. Fortunately the k04-064 conversion puts this into a relatively simple spot, so there’s nothing too awful to workaround. That said, I’m certainly no welder so didn’t fancy welding it up myself, and was fortunate enough to have one of the welders from the dockyard kindly offer to TIG it all for me. Thanks, Carl!One section at a time I tacked things up until it came out in the right placeLooking something like this:That done, I handed it over to my friendly welder and set about connecting up the assortment of hoses/wiring that needed to go back on. Fortunately no major snags here despite my lack of labelling – most things are fairly obvious and can only go one way really. Couple of light tweaks needed – extending the n75 wiring and fitting a different connector to suit the FSI offering, and at some point I’ll likely fiddle with the injector harness since I’d like to tuck the wiring away for that to tidy things up. Nothing too tricky there though, fortunately!You’ll notice that the FMIC hotside and TIP aren’t currently connected up – this is another case of “Luke’s not a welder” syndrome sadly. Being alu I couldn’t even tack these together, however I’m hoping to have those sorted in the next week so fingers crossed. All mocked up though ready to go.With (almost) everything connected, it was time to go through and top up fluids. I was pretty thorough when assembling things, but gave it all a once over prior to sticking any liquid in the bay. Coolant, PS fluid, oil all ok.Topped up the clutch fluid and went to bleed it only to find it wee weeing out onto the floor. Not a massive problem per se, but I needed to get the car out of the garage by the end of the night as the garage owner was back to work the following morning!Here’s the culprit:This’d been bent when I’d removed the box a few days before, however refused to seal when I connected it back up so I can only assume I’d made it worse. I was unsure if it was purely the fact it’d bent that was causing it to leak, so first task was to straighten it out.Fail.Replaced the o-ring.Fail.Tried wrapping it in a load of amalgamating silicone tape, with a good load of insulation tape on top to try and seal things in (long shot, given how much pressure it’s under in use):Temporary success, swiftly followed by fail.In the end, I repeated all the above with some additional PTFE tape on the inside and it held long enough to bleed the pedal. I’d like to revisit this as a matter of relative urgency but not sure the best way to go. Part number for the dealer seems to be the complete hose from pedal to box, where as I only need this last 100mm or so of hard line. I’m aware that ECS offer a billet bleed block but that’s not the issue here so reluctant to spend out on that. Realistically I’d like to find something that retains the standard gearbox side and bleed nipple, with a standard brake fitting on the hose side (as seen in the photo above on the RHS of the hard line. That way I could simply replace the hard line with a short flexi and be done with it!With fluids all seemingly ok, it was time to think about turning the key. I unplugged the injectors and coilpacks to ensure nothing was going to happen inside the engine, and turned it over on the starter. No strange noises which is always a bonus, and a quick look in the top after a few more cranks showed that oil pressure had been sufficient to start moving oil around inside the engine, though the Redline assembly lube I’d used was still doing the job and hadn’t worn off yet.At this point I plugged in the laptop to ensure there were no horrors or ommissions:I connected up the coils and injectors and held my breath as I turned the key. Fortunately not for too long, as the engine jumped into life relatively quickly. As oil circulated for the first time properly, things quietened down a little and became less tappy, however a lack of exhaust made for a rather loud first run! Unsurprisingly, with no lambda due to no exhaust, and no MAF due to no TIP, the engine wasn’t idling overly smoothly but this wasn’t a major concern. I do need to compression test the engine still, which I should have done sooner but forgot. Hope I don’t live to regret it…Not sure if I can embed YouTube videos directly here (advice gladly listened to!) but here's proof the thing ran, albeit somewhata lumpy due to no MAF/labda etc connected up:http://www.youtube.c...bed/GSRHvCyOrIwI ran the engine up to temperature, before a short fast idle. Rinse and repeat, then I dropped all the fluids for the first time. I’d been using a cheap mineral oil for first start since it was going to be short lived, and replaced with more of the same which I’ll run for the first hundred miles or so before switching to something a little better.Content that things were mostly as they should be, I stuck the front end back on. I needed to get the car back on its wheels and out of the garage.Having loaded the boot with all my shoot (excluding the old box and engine, which were tucked out of harm’s way for later collection) I made a rather loud and obnoxious trip home. No lambda/MAF made things rather interesting as of course the car has no way of knowing how much air was coming in (not that the turbo was connected to the intake at this point anyway!) and the lack of lambda meant it couldn’t even make a best guess from the exhaust fumes either, so whilst it was ok at steady state, any transients (junctions etc) were a little touch and go. Fortunately years of riding brakeless bikes have me pretty well trained in reading far enough ahead to pre-empt other users and with the exception of some interesting looks, I made it home in one piece with no ASBO.Celebratory dairy products
And that’s where it sat for a week or so, really. As much as Soph understood that after 18 months of putting this off to pay for houses/weddings/etc I was keen to get on with it, I'd neglected her far more than I should whilst being a social recluse in the garage so I put it on the back burner to spend some more time with her - can't have her filing for divorce JUST yet.I need to get the exhaust tip sorted, though there’s no mad rush for that. Higher priority are getting the alu TIP/TOP welded up and putting together a suitable turbo oil return line. I’d knocked one up temporarily from k03 parts I had spare but it fouls the driveshaft. No biggy, an hour in the garage one evening should sort that.I picked up the DP a few days later and very pleased with the way it’s come out. Sadly a lack of functional power tools meant I’ve had to open up the bosses for the lambda/EGT sensors with files which took forever, but that’s now wrapped up and good to go on. I’d hoped to fit these yesterday but rain stopped play.Got it all wrapped up to help with engine bay temps and try to mitigate againt the fact it's now closer to a number of fuel/brake lines, so hopefully should be ok.Popped the car up on stands on the drive last night. I now have an exhaust! It's still rather loud, which I'm hoping will settle down a touch once things get a bit coked up, but then again it's a full 3" decat system with a 3.5" expansion chamber, so it's never going to be stealthy, and the exhaust gases now exit the correct end of the vehicle so I'd better just take the small victories.And that pretty much brings things up to speed.
With a bit of luck, I plan on having the intake and charge pipe welded up this week which will allow me to have them fitted soon - I was away last weekend and again the one coming which stunted progress somewhat but as much as lift-sharing with Soph makes plenty of economical/environmental sense, it's boring and inconvenient and I want to get back in the LCR ASAP!