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I enjoy reading all of your posts. From the: How to?, check this out!, my car is making a funny noise, it's running hot, what gear ratio's do you have?,  I got a coolant leak, what sort of ignition switch do you have? or how big my engine is. Never less I find them humorous, serious and sometimes I wonder if everybody on the forum has a lot of free time or just don't work? Your wondering where is he going with this? read on.

It was great to see a friend and customer today. Having met him thru other speedster owners, friends and customers. We have been able to discuss our opinions and thoughts on how things should work and what is considered the best coffee. Since he received his speedster I probably had it at my house or shop a third of it's life. During that time we discussed and implemented changes so the car is what his vision was the day he decided on buying one. First it was dialing in the webers after removing the empi copies. then it was the motor and putting the right gear ratios in the trans. Recently, the finial transition was adding an extra gear. To some on the forum it's hard to understand what that does but when you drive one it gives you a feeling of a new engine and to some a bigger engine.  you ask how? the close ratio gears keep one in the power band/torque curve. Bottom line of this post, It was great to see him simile when asked how do you like it and then say "WOW! It's more than I expected, "

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The site has helped me a lot and YES, I have lost some productive time to some of these threads. Mostly I post when I'm on surveillance and I'm not on point, or when I get home after a busy day while enjoying a frosty adult beverage, or before I head off. The conversations can be enlightening and educational. I appreciate your input since you have technical knowledge I lack. Many times we're all throwing out our ideas and you come online and put the answer on the page as if it was no big deal. Thanks for contributing. 

I think I know who you're writing about, Tony. And I can also remember the early days and the frustration that, at times, seemed that it would never end.  I'm happy to know that Mitch finally has the car he wanted.

Remember, you got me through it as well. Thanks for all your help and support over the last 10 years. You're awesome...almost as awesome as my Berg 5.

Last edited by Terry Nuckels


OK Terry, you sleuthed me out.

If it weren't for Tony, my car would have been one of those VS's you see for sale on Craig's List with suspiciously low miles and some lame excuse for selling like, "I need to clear up some space in my garage for other toys."

Tony took a car that was pretty much undriveable on the freeway and not much fun to drive anywhere else, and got me back on the road. He's held my hand through a new engine and a new transaxle and a whole lot of other upgrades that turned the car into a reliable driver I can now take anywhere any time.

The five speed is the icing on what was already a pretty sweet cake.

When I've driven it a bit more, I'll probably write up 30 or 40 paragraphs that will bore the crap out of half the folks here and piss off everyone else.

Twenty minutes into the first drive, it was pretty clear to me that no amount of ratio juggling can make four speeds do the work of five with a mid-powered type one motor. And saying just that seems to be enough to piss off a lot of people who have many dollars invested in their current setups and don't appreciate someone raining on their parade. So, for now, I'll put a lid on it.

I've just been very lucky to have someone like Tony help me tiptoe through the alligators and end up with a car that's a joy to drive.


Troy Sloan posted:

...was there some difference between your car's gearing and the typical gearing that Vintage cars come with?...


I ordered Kirk's optional 3.88 'Freeway Flyer' transaxle, and '3.88' was painted on the outside of the case. When we eventually opened it up, though, there was a 4.12 r&p inside and the 4th gear was the .92 out of a bus, not the usual .89. So, in top gear, I had the equivalent of a 4.27 r&p (if there'd been a normal 4th gear).

The result was that I had to turn 3700 rpm just to do 70, and around here you have to do 75 sometimes just to stay with traffic. Complicating matters, the engine was really weak on hills, but downshifting into 3rd at 65 meant revving to 4800 rpm. Yikes!

In the end, I'd slow down to 55 in 3rd on freeway hills and crawl along with the trucks in the slow lane.

In my exotic sports car.


Sacto Mitch posted:


Twenty minutes into the first drive, it was pretty clear to me that no amount of ratio juggling can make four speeds do the work of five with a mid-powered type one motor. And saying just that seems to be enough to piss off a lot of people who have many dollars invested in their current setups and don't appreciate someone raining on their parade. So, for now, I'll put a lid on it.

We all like to defend the choices we've made, but I've got 5-speed money in my 4-speed box and I try to be honest with myself. If I were to act as if it was as good as a 5-speed it would only betray ignorance, and I'm (unfortunately) not ignorant of what is possible.

There are guys I know who step up to the plate and smack it out of the park on their first swing. I've never been that guy. I typically arrive wherever I end up pretty much by banging my head against closed doors until they open or I knock myself out. I'm on my 3rd "perfect" 4-speed, and 4th "perfect" engine.

Deep inside, I knew by number two that what I was really after was a 5-speed box and a Type 4, but my inner tight-wad kept telling me I could get 90% of the way with other options. It's enough for now, but I'll not stop until I'm where I'd like to end up. Getting mad because I've spent good money chasing after bad doesn't change the truth.

Guys like you and Terry who buy something you find to be fundamentally flawed initially, but who draw a deep breath and make really, really good choices to polish your pebbles into gems deserve all the respect we can offer on this site.

Post away. It's important to tell the truth objectively, if only to save a guy who hasn't yet purchased from having unrealistic expectations of the standard "as delivered" car.

... and Tony, you sir are the man.

Like many of us, I am still seeking the improved version of my car that I believe is waiting to be discovered.  It doesn't really matter which improvement we are seeking.  We're all looking for a certain result that's important to us, and maybe not many others.  Most others would say "good enough", and let it go, and they may be right.

In my case, I've struggled with how to harness big, water-cooled turbo Subi power in our platforms and not overheat.  It's a steep learning curve, and I've learned a lot.  However, recently I've become less sure that a specific result is all I'm after.  I have come to enjoy the research and increasing knowledge that accompanies the process.  

The movement of fluids and air in our replicas is complicated and fascinating.  Air movement is especially interesting, possibly because I know so little about it: how to shape ducting to avoid vortexes; realizing that exhaust duct shaping is as important as inlet ducting, and also includes gradient optimization; making duct walls sinusoidal, and gently angling all air panels so that air clings to them, rather than tumbles off, creating a vortex.  Turbulation is effective for transfer of heat with liquids, but smooth air is what we need for air cooling.  Air ducts need a smooth opening that increases by 7% in size as it travels to the appliance that is to be cooled, either brakes, radiator, some other heat exchanger, or to cool the cockpit for driver comfort.  Initially, many of us think that a large funnel-shaped opening would cram more air through a duct by high pressure, ensuring more air flow to the radiator, when, in effect, that's not true at all.  All that does is create spiral vortexes inside the duct that decrease air flow.

I didn't even have enough knowledge to know how to start the project, but finally realized that I needed to establish a goal.  I arbitrarily chose a coolant temp of not more than 200F, and oil temp of not more than 230F, irrespective of engine load, highway conditions, engine rpm, or ambient air temp.  I'm getting very close to my goal.  It would be easy to change driving habits to accommodate the difficulty of goal achievement, like not driving when the air temp is over 80F, but this project has kept me interested for a few years now, so I'm going to see it through to the end.  If I want to drive to Vegas in August, I want to be able to turn the key and go.

I don't think I'm getting smarter, but I may be getting more patient, since I find that the normal knowledge hurdles I need to overcome no longer make me mad, they just make me determined. This project has morphed over time from one that made me angry to one that made me determined to one that gives me pleasure.  Kind of crazy, but pretty cool to have fun doing something that used to really piss me off. 

Last edited by Jim Kelly

^ That, right there-- that's the perfect encapsulation regarding "why".

The only thing that I can add to that is that the desire and ability to push the boundaries of possibility ebbs and flows with what life hands us. Two years ago, figuring out the twin-plug puzzle was the rabbit-hole of diversionary though I was looking for to relieve the stress of "normal monotony".

The stress of the last 13 months have heaped enough on my plate, that my quixotic quest for the next big project is on hold for a bit. Dad is dying. My daughter's life is imploding in slow motion. I'm hemorrhaging money on a very unique house I'm not sure I really want (because of what I've had to give up to build it). Business isn't easy any more. A church I've built my life around is heading in a direction I'm not sure I want to go.

... and yet I know that somehow, some way, I'll get back to the worm in my brain that is this car. It centers me, in a way-- it's a constant, and yet it is always evolving. Jim has said many times that we are the engineer and beta test-beds for whatever we are attempting to accomplish when we color outside the lines. This is precisely the appeal of it for a few of us really sick people. We grow or we die. There's a goal, which can be subjectively defined-- but the intangible process of learning about something way outside of where a guy's brain normally goes is why so many of us remain interested 15- 20 years in.

Some people aren't interested in all of this, and that's cool too. I promise not to judge the worth of their reasons for loving their car, if they can return the favor.

Wonderful philosophical thread--unusually high quality for around here I will add.

Just a quick question since 5 speed xmissions were mentioned.  Can someone say what RPM they are turning with a 5 speed at 70 mph and if you know, what is the hp at the wheels?

Grateful for an answer to a queston I have had for a very long time. 


Ed, I think we've found two ways to say the same thing.

Standard top gear overall gearing is 3.66 (.89 x 4.12 r&p)

I was paying extra for lower gearing of 3.45 (.89 x 3.88 r&p)

What I got for my money was even higher than stock gearing of 3.79 (.92 x 4.12 r&p)

I gave the example of how that gearing felt by saying it was the same as running a standard .89 top gear with a 4.27 r&p (.89 x 4.27 = 3.80).

One of the problems with any gearing discussion is that things get way too complicated and confusing very early on.



Jack Crosby posted:


...Can someone say what RPM they are turning with a 5 speed at 70 mph and if you know, what is the hp at the wheels?...


Jack the answers to this will be all over the map as everyone opts for a different solution.

What we did with my gearbox was keep the top gear ratio exactly the same, as it was already tall enough for the torque of my motor. First and second were also kept the same.

The main reason for the five speed in my case was to tighten up the gaps between the intermediate gears. In effect, two evenly spaced gears replace the old third gear. The new gaps between 2-3, 3-4, and 4-5 are much shorter than the old gaps between 2-3 and 3-4, and this completely transforms how the car drives.

This worked best for me because my engine was built more to stay cool in our blazing summer heat than to be a road burner. It's a 2024cc that probably makes about 120 hp.

If you've got 160 hp or more, you'd probably want to put in taller gearing to drop the revs for highway cruising. But as it is, I'm doing the same 3250 rpm at 70 as anyone else with a 3.88 r&p and .89 top gear.**


** Uh, that will vary a bit with tire size, of course. Mine are 175x65-15.


Last edited by Sacto Mitch

"Confusing" is right.  You lost me some where along the way.   You kept the original tall gear that required 3700rpm at 70mph, but now you only require 3250 at 70 with the same gear?  I know there is an explanation for this: I've just never taken the time to try to understand it. 

I'll admit it, the only thing I know about gearing is that there are 3.88 (freeway flyers) and 4.12 transmissions and in most cases the freeway flyer transmissions are preferred, because of the lower rpms at freeway speeds.  

My mind is on my engine pull, so I was totally thrown for a loop with the 90º turn this thread took.  Like, WHAT?  Where did we go?  What happened to Jim and Stan?  Those were profound posts!

So to Jim and Stan and their most excellent posts, I was taken back to Robert Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" where the martian, Valentine Smith, termed 'the  profound and intuitive understanding of something', to "grok".  That's how some of us "get this stuff".  It's like the Madness overcomes us and we and the madness become one. "Yeah, I can see how that works, but I can do it better."  or "I know what I want to do, don't yet have the skills or knowledge, but I'll learn and then do it."

Life IS the journey...........And that journey is your life.

I feel SO MUCH BETTER about pulling my engine, now.


Troy, I think I have a natural gift for confusing people.

There are actually three transmissions involved here. The first, the one that came with the car, was supposed to be a 3.88 but wasn't. That was the one that gave me 3700 at 70.

About a year later, I had a 'real' 3.88 built, with a .89 4th, and that gave the expected 3250 at 70. I drove that and was pretty happy with it for another two years.

But I always knew what the car needed was a five speed, and that's the one that has just gone into the car. For that build, we kept the 3.88 and .89 top gear ratios that were in the second gearbox.

Gordon, the thread has drifted this way because the 'when it all comes together' thingy described by the OP turned out to be my new tranny.

You're right though. The lessons such things teach us about life, as explained in the new testaments of Stan and Jim, can be far more interesting than ring gears, pinions, and things that go grunch in the night.


Stan IMHO faith is a gift... if you get it ... it brings a whole other perspective that you could not previously have imagined possible.  In a sense, it is like getting married or having children, those who finally experience it make comments like Michael Bublé: “The only regret that I have in my life is that I took this long to have kids, because I had no idea the perspective it would give me,"  

While the evidence is all around you, If you don't have the gift, no evidence can be enough for you until you experience it. 

Troy Sloan posted: you think you would have still felt the need for a 5 speed if you had received the correct transmission in the first place?...

Troy, there's 'need' and there's 'want'.

I guess no one really needs a five-speed. You tell yourself the original cars had only four speeds and what was good enough for James Dean is good enough for me.

You tell yourself that MusbJim has gone the equivalent of to the moon and back with only four speeds and look how content he is. Why can I not be as happy with my lot in life as he?

You tell yourself that four speeds are the way these cars were meant to be experienced. Rasping through the neighborhood at 3500 in third is just part of the whole gestalt (this thread is supposed to be about Big Thoughts).

But then, in moments of weakness, the lingering doubts creep in. Like when you're stuck behind some creature in a large SUV creeping up a two-mile hill, just at your shift point, slowing down even more at every curve, making you downshift into third at too many revs, and then upshift into fourth where you're just on the edge of lugging it.

The more you drive these cars on nice, twisty roads, the more you start to dwell on those moments. In time, you think about those moments and those doubts more and more. You don't really need a five-speed, just like you don't really need to be sleeping with a super model. But, sometimes you just can't keep from thinking about it.

And in the long run, a five-speed is more easily obtainable, will be a lot lower-maintenance, and will cause much less grief than a super model.


Well said, Mitch.  You don't really know how much you miss a 5-speed, close ratio, gearbox until you've driven one and THEN you get it.  It's a "Grok" moment.

and Mitch.......  Jim and Stan's "new Testaments" are not new, nor was Robert Heinlein - - - per Wikipedia:  "The title "Stranger in a Strange Land" is an allusion to the phrase in Exodus 2:22.[2] According to Heinlein, the novel's working title was The Heretic."

Made us feel downright rebellious reading something like that in the '60's!


It's getting comical now.

So today, I had an employee (I've only got 2) quit. No notice, no reason-- just dropped his van off at the shop and called on his way out of town. He's taking the accounts he serviced with him, which was a nice gesture. This is the same guy that lived in a single-wide with his wife and 3 kids before I bought a house and sold it to him at cost contract-for-deed with no money down. I really don't bear him any ill will. I just wish he could've been happy-- but he's got no history with the emotion and I apparently couldn't give him what he was looking for.

We had a hailstorm Thursday. Since we are presently in an apt., both vans (my work van, and Jeanie's min-van) have hail damage from being parked outside. The house we rehabbed for my daughter this summer (which I own) had probably 1000 holes in the siding and the roof is shot. This is especially good news, given that winter is only about 3 weeks away. 

... but you know what? It's all good. I really am doing surprisingly well-- and with these latest bumps in the road, I'm beginning to clearly see divine intervention moving me from a place of complacent comfort and into a place of increased faith. I am REALLY hanging out there on multiple fronts (much more so than even 6 months back). I have a sense that I'm moving from one place in life to another. I've still got enough strength and faculties to be an active participant in God's plan for my life, which is much better than sitting on my hands and conserving my resources. I'm actually (and oddly) enjoying my pared down life, and am really not as afraid as I once was of losing what I've accumulated (which is odd, because that is at least a possibility with all of this at risk).

To the matter at hand, to paraphrase Brother Mitch's eloquence: none of us really need any of this. An '01 Corolla would get you around just fine. The act of buying one of these clown-cars (in and of itself) proves that a guy isn't doling out his treasure based on "need'. One may wish to spend his loose change on this bit of frippery or that-- but the guys who do the 5-speeds seldom regret the expenditure. 

Your mileage may vary. Everybody's does. 

Simply amazing how there are those that just "drop and roll" no matter what you have done for them and don't have the decency or compassion to sit down and talk face to face........and so it goes. Perhaps, the replacement employee will be one that is a positive blessing for your business. On the good side you get to try another color combo on the siding and roof. Tomorrow in church or for that matter... anywhere,  do hold the palm of your hands upward asking for guidance, we know he will listen as long was we take the time to see,  the signs set in place by him  ~

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Stan, sorry to hear the employee news.  I had the same thing happen a few years ago.  I am also glad that I spent the cha-ching up front for the Porsche 915 5speed.  It handles the upgraded 265HP Subaru with no problem.  I'm not sure that Porshe trannies fit in the pan based or Beck cars but they are sweet

I've never driven a Berg 5 but if I make it to CA I can swap with Terry or Mitch.  Cars not wife's . 

Last edited by Marty Grzynkowicz

You would probably need two pillows to see over the dash.  Because of my long torso I had IM make my seat very very low, that way I can get my head below the windshield edge... even my passenger seat is low and my wife who is 5'-4" says she can't see over the dash without pillows  

Come to think about it, maybe your feet might not reach the pedals too...  Just kidding the seat comes forward.  baaaaaa.... 

Last edited by IaM-Ray

Tom, I know the challenge once you make up your mind there are things you forgo to get the build done when the maker can't yet make it work with technology you might want to try.

Jim, It must be the 17inch wheels, they make you run faster with less mice running in the powerplant. If I remember right Jack, I run 31-3200mice revolutions.

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