Bear with me - long rant on the way. Picked up the car on Monday (S3 33 16v).
Engine swap complete and I have mixed feelings
. The swap was from an 8v to a 16v. Here are my observations so far (hoping for your words of wisdom in response):
Really lacking in low down torque as compared to the 8v
. Engine feels a bit lumpy and a tad jerky (maybe I'm not used to driving it). Also, I don't really like the sound of the engine at the moment - think it might be in part due to my standard exhaust. Sounds a bit like a Lawnmower and not a raspy boxer.
The donor 16v engine was totally rebuilt. Therefore I'm still in the 'run in' stage. Perhaps the engine needs to loosen up before I make judgement - what do you think?
Gearbox changed to a low mileage 16v one. Needs some getting used to. I previously had a reconditioned (from about 10 years ago) gearbox which had a definate clunk in each gear. However, it wasn't perfect hence the change. My thinking was that prevention is better than cure. I suspected my previous gearbox was showing signs of wear so best to change it whilst I had the opportunity. I was fortunate to find a good condition replacement from a 16v donor (supplied by Alex P). What can I say, the new gearbox feels ok but a bit loose and less definite.
STEERING RACK & NARDI WHEEL
Due to a leak my old steering rack needed changing. Again Alex P (33 bits) sourced a good condition rack for me which I had looked over by my mechanic and installed. Steering feels slightly heavier (maybe due to the heavier 16v engine) but more direct. I also bought a Nardi steering wheel to go with the refresh. This is by far wheel my favourite part of this revamp. I previously had a Momo racing steering wheel installed. The Nardi wheel feels much more appropriate for the car and very comfortable to use. Highly recommend them
I had to change my front struts which were Konis for a new set. A few years ago I had all my standard struts changed to Konis. Unfortunately the mechanic I used at the time purchased Koni refills that were slightly too small for the strut sleeves. This meant I had a bit of play at the wheels. Unfortunatley, the fault wasn't readily apparent so I had to bear with it until now. Again, Alex supplied the Konis and these were installed. They are matched to H&R springs and Powerflex bushes all round. Handling is great (from the short time I've driven it) and I'm confident the crazy bump steer/ tramlining action is gone.
Willwood big brake kit now provides the stopping force for the new set up. I also installed a bigger Master cylinder from an Alfa 75 to ensure pedal travel is just right. Pedal travel is indeed just right so I'm pleased with that. Braking is slightly noiser with the drilled disks and harder compound pads. However, braking power is certainly improved - happy with this.
OTHER BITS - Exhaust
Unfortunately I had to strip away my stainless steel 'Cat Back' system. The bore for the 8v SS system was too small for the 16v. I now have a standard system with an exit pipe that you could impale yourself on if you stand too close - not kidding! Add this to the fact that I really don't like the sound it makes then this ranks as the worst part of the revamp. My mechanic also thinks it's restricting the performance of the engine. I'll need to sort this out at some point but after my expenditure I think I'll be lucky to get beans on toast. A full stainless steel system after a tune up would be my my ideal but being broke doesn't lend so well to such dreams. Might look at installing a cone filter with cold air feed at some point though.
OTHER BITS - Clutch & Accerator cable
Clutch and acelerator cable were also changed. Didn't notice much difference here. Often times a new clutch can feel a bit jumpy (in my experience anyway). This hasn't been the case this time around.
OTHER BITS - Other bits
Cam belts, tensioners, Hydraulic tappets, etc were all changed as you would expect. Nothing to report here.
I bought an OMP strut brace as part of the revamp. I've decided not to install it yet. I'll drive the car around for a bit and get used to how it feels before trying out the strut brace. I'm not fully convinced that I won't simply be adding unnecessary weight to the front end by installing the brace. I'll let you know how this pans out.
I initially started off wanting to get a thicker antiroll bar and 16V cross member (don't ask). I ended up with a semi rebuild my entire car! So far I can't say it been worth it. Need to see what happens when the engine loosens up a bit I think. The best part of the build for me has actually been the Nardi Wheel matched to the corrected front suspension (struts). Hopefully I'll be back on here ravving about the conversion but for now I'm cautiously optimistic. Watch this space I suppose. Pictures to follow...
To be continued...your advice welcomed.