Building a TT RS Motor
Having my engine built was a big choice for me. Not only is it a big expense but it also is a large undertaking. Logistics need to be taken into account on when and how it will happen. Your car will be out of service for a period of time. In addition, my engine was running great, I’d had no issues and things were kept on a “safe” level for torque. Open heart surgery is never something someone wants to go through and the same goes for removing a perfect running engine. At the same time I was making around 650 wheel horsepower and felt that my engine was being stressed even with the torque level being kept around 500 foot pounds. You also need to consider who you want to have build your engine. More on that in a future post. These were all factors I considered when making the decision to build.
I talked to multiple shops in my area and tried to decide how to build it. No one I had spoken with was comfortable building the engine locally so my only other option was to find someone from out of San Diego area. In my group of tuned cars were some experts and people who I would be comfortable building with. After talking to Nathan Samuels from Apex Motoring I felt comfortable trusting my car and engine build to him. The problem was he was in Toronto and I was in San Diego. How should I get my car from San Diego to Toronto? I had a few options. Ship the car, have the engine pulled and shipped, trailer the car there, drive the car there and leave it, or drive the car there and stay as he built the engine. I finally decided the simplest way was to drive the car and spend a couple weeks as I don’t have a trailer and that would be an added complication.
I have friends in the area I could spend time with as well as I could participate in the engine build process so I decided to take some vacation and stay there as the engine was built. To me it was the best bet and the most fun adventurous way to proceed. So I took 2 weeks off of work and scheduled all my time with Nathan. He ordered parts and got ready for what he had to do. He was also going to tune the car with Custom Code after it had been built as I had the new Pure850 turbo from Pure Turbos installed on my car and we wouldn’t need to hold the torque down to 500 anymore.
I started out on my drive from San Diego on Friday October 18, 2019 and planned on coming back after Halloween. It took me all day Friday, all day Saturday and all day Sunday to get to Apex Motoring in Mississauga, which is in the greater Toronto area. Nathan met me there and I dropped my car off to him at his shop on Sunday evening.
By Thursday the engine was out of the car and the car was apart. This was on top of Nathan digging a hole in his shop floor to put in equipment and working on a GTR which was going to World Cup that next week. I went over on Thursday and on Friday to watch and talk to Nathan and his employees. I got to watch a lot of the engine disassembly and also got to participate in part of it.
It was fun being able to look under the car with the drivetrain and exhaust removed. The engine was out on a lift together with the transmission. The turbo had already been removed as well but then I got to watch Nathan start taking the rest of it apart. First separate the engine from the transmission. Then all the parts come off the top, the head got removed, all wires and other accessories came off. He dumped them all into a plastic bin. All those parts were dripping oil and would have leaked all over the shop floor. The engine was already leaking oil everywhere but those had more coming out. It’s crazy seeing how much oil continues to come out of an engine for so long.
After all the top parts came off he turned the engine over on its side and then removed the oil pan and was ready to take out the pistons and connecting rods as a joint unit. He unbolted all the connecting rods at the bottom of the crank. Then pulled the bottom half of them off. Then he told me to go get ready to catch the piston and rod half as he pushed then through the top of the block. The first came out then all 5 were laying on the work area side by side. After that everything gets cleaned. It all gets reassembled with the new forged rods and pistons being put into the block. I decided to go with a Manley piston and Carrillo rod setup.
I didn’t get to watch the reassembly. When I got back to Apex Motoring the engine was back in the car. Some small stuff needed to be placed on the top of the engine coolant added and other stuff finished prior to starting it up. The front wheels weren’t on yet or the exhaust as it needed to be run first to make sure it was all good to proceed.
The car was on the lift and Nathan had me get into the car to start it. First he had me crank it over without it starting up so that the oil would get worked around and lubricate the whole engine. Then it was the moment of truth. It started!
He got the engine up to temperature and you could see the coolant get sucked into the engine and out of the reservoir and then add more to top it off. Some light revs to get things moving. That was pretty late on a Saturday night. Then we all went home. Nathan broke it in on the his dyno the next day. By the time I got there in the afternoon we got to go take it out around the area to test drive it a tiny bit. Then tuning started.
One of the GTR’s he had built was racing at World Cup and he had worked hard on it during the week to find an issue it had been having. There are always unforeseen circumstances in any day at the office and lots happens in a shop. Emergencies come up things happen. It’s just part of doing business. The week flew by and tuning happened revisions came and then more revisions. Friday Nate was working on my car as we were watching World Cup drag racing on TV. The rest of the shop was all there at World Cup. We were the only ones not having fun.
By Saturday night it hadn’t all been finished but was super close. I needed to leave by Sunday morning in order to drive the 3 days back to San Diego to make it in time for work. I had already extended my vacation by 2 days unexpectedly but needed to be back by Wednesday for a public hearing. So I booked a ticket to leave on the Tuesday and left the car at his place.
As with any build there are always things that need to be worked out. I made the choice to leave the car there so that more of the issues could be fixed. The transmission tune had some weird quirks that needed to be ironed out and other tweaks. If I had had a couple more days I could have stayed then the car would have been done and I could have driven it all the way back home to San Diego. Little things got fixed by leaving it there and the drive home was perfect.
Thanks for visiting and remember to "Always Strive to Arrive"!