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Now that February is drawing to a close, we can dream of Spring!!!  I had a couple fairly significant projects this winter. What did you all tackle on your Speedsters?

Thanks to those of you who contributed to the exhaust and carb projects!  I’m so happy with the result!



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After last year, having to pull the engine to evict the tenants of a Mouse Condominium in my fan shroud, I'm trying NOT to have any major projects this year.  Maybe I'm due.

That said, I'm sure something will come up.  All I've done so far is rotate the tires and I'm trying to emulate @MusbJim's "Chillaxin" approach.  Hopefully, it'll be an easy Spring and maybe less soggy than last year.

Shoulda had this question a year ago.  LAST winter was a doozie that focused on a rebuild of the rear brake and drive train:  Bearings, rotors, CV joint assemblies (both sides), plus a rebuilt tranny and a dizzy upgrade (Magnaspark).  Rear drive train work precipitated by a loose castle nut, and subsequent chewing of the driver side spline in the brake rotor.  When removed,, it was nearly smooth, with just a hint of what were once teeth. Earlier in the summer the tranny disgorged a major part of a ring gear tooth at a trans oil change.  Remarkably, there was no overt symptom of this gear tooth failure.  Must have been that way for hundreds of miles.   

THIS winter: keep the cover on, the trickle charger plugged in and the mouse traps emptied and reset fresh every few days. 

Further note to prove that I am capable of learning and following the good advice freely offered here.  Some good miles after the rebuild of the drive train elements, and an initial torqueing of the castle nuts to at least 235 ft-lbs, I got my cheater bar and punched up one more "crenellation" on said castle nuts.  Just me on the end of about five feet of cheater bar.  Pushed the nuts to one more slot, reinserted the hitch-pins, and called it a day.

@Stan Galat , we have bleeding rain again today!  You are probably right.  It’s part of being a Californian to b!tch about the weather, when it’s pretty much nothing to complain about.  We complain about drought when it doesn’t rain.  Such is life.

@El Frazoo , those sound way more serious than carb and exhaust!  I need to research upgrading brakes.  I think that the power I added put me right at the limit of what the stock VMC disks do.  I’d prefer a little more brake, but that’s for the future.  Transmission too.  A 901 is a dream, but I don’t think it’s high on my list.  If I blow up what I have, I will look for some kind of upgrade, I’m sure.

@Michael McKelvey , cruise control and defroster.  You are in a different league, my friend.  I have a rag behind my passenger seat for defrost.  I can say that my lid does work well.  At least I have that going for me.

Everyone, keep ‘em coming.  I have to do something in this rain other than take stuff apart and put it back together when it has no need to come apart at all.

I have a thread elsewhere on here detailing my adventures with Bridget. The engine is back in, oil and coolant changed, hoses bled. This weekend I aim to put the interior back in again and see if I did it right.

The Spyder is getting new valve cover gaskets and an oil change. After the valve adjustment. Then a carb dial-in and maybe some futzing about with the timing curve again.

Last edited by edsnova

I have an oil change/valve lash check coming up and that's about it.  The Speedster is up on the lift, hopefully high enough to discourage my mouse friends from getting up in there.  They are more than welcome to inhabit my neighbor's back shed.

We have had a few days nice enough and with salt free roads that I should have gotten the Speedster out by now, but chose, instead, to get my bicycle ready and have been riding that, instead.  The bike doesn't have carburetors to get gummed up or fan shrouds to get mouse nests in or other fitzy things.  It just goes.

I'll get around to the Speedster in the next couple of weeks.  No salt left on the roads and the temps are getting nice out.  

@Teammccalla posted:

Now that February is drawing to a close, we can dream of Spring!!!  I had a couple fairly significant projects this winter. What did you all tackle on your Speedsters?

Thanks to those of you who contributed to the exhaust and carb projects!  I’m so happy with the result!


Carburetors look great; I have another suggestion for you. Get some rain hats from Beck and install them; you don't want to get caught in a rain storm without them. Ask me how I know. A couple of members here have also gone through the same ordeal; hydrolocking is not fun.

I live in NorCal (Bay Area) so it would be rare to get caught in an unexpected downpour.  Very rare.  Even if I get caught in the rain, how much rain would it take to drown my carbs?!  That is a serious question -- it sounds like it happens.  I looked at the threads and this is a real thing! 

I lived in Baltimore for a bit, and also in Colorado.  Both places, I remember getting blindsided, and having water sloshing inside my shoes, etc, soaked to the bone in a matter of minutes.

That doesn't really happen here.  It's what we pay those absurd state taxes and housing prices for.  We have advance warning of a storm, and it rains soooo rarely from May to October.  On days like this Saturday, we know if there's a good chance of rain, and then I don't go, or don't go far anyway.  Luckily Spring is most definitely here -- thank the Speedster Gods!

@Stan Galat

You know......   If you took all that extra wire and bundled/balled it up in a random-sort-of-way and then crammed it up under the dash, it would look a lot like some of our cars.

Jus' sayin'.......

Curious, now, to hear how this all works out for you, and it certainly keeps you off the streets.  

"An idle mind is the Devil's playground", as they say......

Last edited by Gordon Nichols
@MikelB posted:

Nice work Stan. Still running that serpentine setup.

Yes, because of the dry-sump, but I think I'd get away from it otherwise. On my setup the idler is spinning at a ridiculous speed (obviously), but I think a lot about how fast the fan wheel itself is spinning as well, and it seems dangerous and like a waste of power.

I'm to the point of believing (really believing) that the belt slip of a tiny little V-belt turning a great big alternator and heavy fan on a normal cooling system is not a bug, but a feature. I've seen some data that would indicate that there's not much cooling gain after about 4000 RPM or so of engine speed (about the point where a stock setup starts to slip) with a serpentine belt.

You know......   If you took all that extra wire and bundled/balled it up in a random-sort-of-way and then crammed it up under the dash, it would look a lot like some of our cars.

The ECU is a Microsquirt... which I know sounds like gibberish, but which is a DIYAutotune product made for controlling motorcycles and the like. It doesn't have the capability of full sequential injection, so it's a batch-fire proposition. What it is is small and mostly weather resistant, so I can put the module in the engine bay, which really helps me with packaging. I mounted it under a cover up between the deck lid hinges under a cover to add a bit more protection.

I bought all the stuff from Mario Velotta (the DubShop), who is the ACVW EFI guru. Mario sells a Microsquirt harness that has a 5 ft or so wire on all 35 pins, about a third of which I'm presently not using.

The thing is, I don't know what I don't know. I may want or need some of those unused leads down the road so I cut nothing off. I routed the unused leads with the rest of the bundle inside the shrink-tube down to the very back of the car behind the Accusump I have mounted under the deck-lid latch. They're not wadded up or random, but they are unused and "extra" (at least for now). I have them in their own shrink-tube with the end running past the bundle, pinched off to keep them from grounding or shorting to anything else.

The current idea here is to have everything ready, then install the new 2234 I've had sitting on the stand for an embarrassing amount of time now, wire the terminations, then remove the throttle-bodies to light the new engine and break in the cam with carbs, reinstall the TBs and have @DannyP help me with the EFI light-off and tune. This will involve either flying Dan here or trailering the car there -- but either way, it'll be a logistical undertaking.

It's madness for sure.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan is doing things "the right way!" Beautiful wiring and a conservative startup plan with Danny supervision. As long as someone is standing nearby with a fire extinguisher I'll be happy. Of course, Stan, you could just add a BlazeCut into the mix...

I don't have any idea if it's the "right way" or not, but it's the only way I know how to do things. I play to my strengths, and attempt to paper over my weaknesses by doing everything I know to do to help ensure a good outcome. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't, but I can only do what I can do.

I may have the most beautifully wired disaster in history, I don't know. What I DO know is that I've done everything I know to do. We'll see how it turns out.

Last edited by Stan Galat

As for Stan and his "winter project", I am speechless.  The man exists on some higher plane unreachable from where I navigate.   

As to rain hats: that's a definite YES!  I can tell you that hydrolock -- where the rain gets down the throats and into the cylinders ( maybe only one, but more seems possible, place your bets gentlemen, round and round she goes and where she stops no one knows) -- is a real thing.  Water is incompressible and when in there and you try to crank the engine, it will not.  Remove spark plug and pump it as dry as possible, replace plug and give it a go.  This was an early lesson learned for me.

@Stan Galat you have my admiration for taking on this project, and I’ll be the first to say that when I originally wired up my car (I built my own wiring harnesses) I did it while planning with neatness, reliability and serviceability in mind, so the basic stuff was done pretty well.   I had visions of it emulating a well cabled data center, like this:


Then I added things like a radio, courtesy lights, a different stop light switch in a different place, an air/fuel ratio meter, a heater for my O2 sensor on the A/F meter, a cell phone charger, gas heater control and probably other stuff I have forgotten.  You do your best to blend that all in, but it often ends up looking like this:


At least these guys used different colors - I have been in Data Centers where ALL cables are blue and not labeled as to source and destination.  🤬  

Don’t be like the impatient Speedstahguy.  Take your time and make it neat (Honestly, I’m sure you will).   Your OCD side will thank you.

Just keep asking as you are going along;

“OK….  How would I service this if it needs it?”


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@Gordon Nichols posted: 

Don’t be like the impatient Speedstahguy.  Take your time and make it neat (Honestly, I’m sure you will).   Your OCD side will thank you.

Just keep asking as you are going along;

“OK….  How would I service this if it needs it?”

Great advice. Over time, spaghetti wiring creeps in. As we all know, @Stan Galat is fascinated by shiney, new things, and he told me that he's recently purchased a shrink wrap label maker for his wiring adventures. I'd bet you'd have to be blind to be confused about where one of Stan's wires go.

I remember visiting a customer data center years ago where the CIO (who turned out to be clueless) liked the “clean look” whenever he looked into the back side of a server, I/O or storage rack.  All cables had to be dressed off neatly with right angles at curves and lots of cable ties everywhere.  He also was hung up on not having ANY ugly labeling showing on any of the cables, so his IT Minions would install cables with zero labeling on them.  Shortly after installing stuff the IT Minions would usually find jobs elsewhere.

Sure it looked great, but it was just about impossible to trace a cable source or destination.   Label those suckers, Stan!

Last edited by Gordon Nichols

My home isn't wired as well as that.

Mine's not either, because I hired out the house (time constraint), but I did the shop across the street. Nobody can make money doing it like I want it done.


A thing of beauty is, however, a joy.

As we all know, @Stan Galat is fascinated by shiney, new things, and he told me that he's recently purchased a shrink wrap label maker for his wiring adventures. I'd bet you'd have to be blind to be confused about where one of Stan's wires go.

Mike's just being humble here, because he pointed the way with his EFI setup. I saw his stupidly cool shrink-tube labels and asked where he got everything. He gave me the links, and did everything but buy them for me. He's been invaluable, and if he didn't live halfway to Tokyo, I'd fly him here for the startup and tune.

Hey Stan, you have 6 months until TdS '24.  Think you can make it?

I have no idea, Lane. I'm trying very, very hard (at the expense of the project house) not to miss this season. It's financial suicide, sending hundred dollar bills after nickels, but I want this car to be injected. I'm hoping to have the engine in the car and fired up over the Easter weekend.


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Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan does his wiring the way I do. Neat, clear, and tidy. It looks fabulous, and I'm sure it will work very well.

Stan will make it just fine to the Smokies this fall. I have no idea how the car will run initially, but I'm fairly confident we can get it to work. Tuning with a laptop is both harder and easier than a few jets on carbs. Once it's fired up and running reasonably, Mike will be on retainer for tuning.

Tunerstudio is the user interface where changes, parameters, and features are controlled. Tables are filled with spark advance values, fueling amounts, and AFR's desired.

Megalogviewer HD is a logging program that can log a crap-ton of data, then crunch it all. After crunching, you can determine how hard or easy your target AFRs are met with the analysis. Then you allow or deny the changes. Once I got my idle AFRs perfect, I locked those cells in the table so they can't be changed. You can send the changes from the logger direct to Tunerstudio, then you upload. Easy-peasy.

The longer you log the data, the better the program can make suggestions and fine-tune it all. I drove to Lime Rock in the morning, logging all the way there. Then in the afternoon I did the same on the way home. I got over three hours of data!

Then I copied my current tune into a file, and sent that off to Mike Pickett(Super Genius of EFI tuning). I downloaded my run data and sent that off also. Mike sent me back an altered/upgraded tune, so I uploaded it. It ran well before, but the car literally PURRS now.

I still need to tune the cold start, but honestly it runs beautiful after the first minute. I couldn't be more pleased.

Stan's ECU is slightly different from mine and Mike's, but it's really about the interface you use. In fact, Mike's ECU board and mine are different, but run the same CPU.

So much for the simple 1950's VW drive train.

Problem with my post?

Not a single thing wrong with your post, Bob.

I agonized for years before doing this. On the one hand, there's no denying the superiority of EFI and I was really looking forward to the challenge. On the other hand, every time I've deviated from the simple, tried and true approach, it's come back to bite me in the butt.

What really pushed me over the edge were two things working in conjunction with each other.

  1. The first was the paucity of decent and reliable ignition parts. The Magnaspark is OK for what it is -- but I helped Bob through 2 or 3 bad modules and at least that many coils. When I did my setup on the 2110, I burned up the module in a matter of a month. I had no further issues, but nearly burning my car to the ground with the twin-plug failure down in NC was ever in the front of my mind. There's a way to do crank-fire without EFI -- but generally, if I'm in for the penny, I'm in for the pound.
  2. The second contributor was riding back from Hot Springs, NC with Danny in his EFI Spyder. My car is fast, but the immediacy of his setup was illuminating. The only other comparable experience I've had was driving Rich Drewek's 2.6L Raby twin-plug T4, but Danny's engine is only a 2180. The power was everywhere, with no lag whatsoever -- a harder pull than any engine I've ever run: my CPR 2332 and twin-plug 2276 included.

The real question, I suppose is whether the added complexity is going to make the car more or less reliable. I'm thinking it will be more bulletproof, but I don't know what I  haven't experienced. At the end of the day, I'm looking for something reliable enough to drive to either coast with a minimum of extra drama. I hope I'm doing the right thing, but time will tell.

Not really, just overwhelmed by the work being invested in the ECU/EFI upgrade.  Way beyond my ability to understand, although I do appreciate the idea.

Meanwhile -- I did work as an electrician for a couple of summers, and learned a lot about wiring.  I was taught the correct way to fashion a breaker box, and have done so on quite a few.  Another anecdote: when I first began working in an engineering concern there was a wiring shop where folks would take schematics of one-off electronic circuits and apply the required components to a board inside a box and lace up all the wiring just so.  I had several such chassis made and was amazed at the artistry required to get that sort of job done and done right.  I'm not sure that shop still exists, as the technology now that is used to replace all those manual connections is thin film photolithography and very large scale integration.  Machines make the PCBs and the VLSI chips get plugged in and Bob's your uncle.


I wish I had your ingenuity and commitment to realizing your vision of what you want your car to be.

I'm a simple guy with little mechanical ability or skill. So for me, being cheap as well, I do simple, small stuff that can't be too damaging to my simple drivetrain.

I remain grateful for your ongoing advice and help with my car. You, Danny, Merklin and Gordon and several others have given me enough help and encouragement to keep me in the hobby.

@Panhandle Bob - Keep doin' what'cha doin'.  Sometimes try something outside your comfort zone and learn from the experience.  We all learned from Mike Pickett, then learned a little more from Danny and are about to learn even more from looking over Stan's shoulder.  Not everyone will be converting to EFI.  Heck, I don't know of many that put a gas heater in after me, but the info is on here for that, and a whole lot of lesser mods that people can try, and THAT is what I like to see pushing this group forward.  And we're all good at it.

El Frazzled wrote: "I'm not sure that shop still exists, as the technology now that is used to replace all those manual connections is thin film photolithography and very large scale integration.  Machines make the PCBs and the VLSI chips get plugged in and Bob's your uncle."

Sounds like you're waxing for the "Good Old Days there, @El Frazoo.

Yeah, those shops still exist, but these days, what you think of as a prototype shop would be something like the Robotics labs in high schools and colleges, working with "smarter" sub-assemblies that do more all the time.  Their CPU typically sits on a card about 3" X 5" and talks to a bunch of other things via standard bus languages.  Most of what it needs is on the same card.  Tell the cpu to do something and based on results send a signal out a particular bus to do something outside of the CPU.  Remember when everyone was excited when BIOS was made a PC "standard"?  Then anyone could write and operating system/compiler for it to do neat stuff!  How about SCSI I/O?  You could make different things talk to each other!  Or maybe Industry Standard Architecture (ISA) for the 286/386 PC chips that defined how to connect other things to the CPU?  (which we still use, today)  WOW!  Now it was super-easy to talk between different devices!  The list goes on and is very long.

In the automotive world, it's people like Danny P, Mr. Pickett and Stan G taking the bull by the horns, researching what others have done on on-line forums (like this one), gathering the right parts, wiring it all up and applying the right software.  This is no different than Ham Radio operators building their own heterodyne receivers in the 1950's and 60's, Electronic Geeks building TRS-80 and Commodore computers and peripherals in the 1970's and so on.  Nothing much has changed - Things just got smaller and do a lot  more.

Computer Aided Design has made designing stuff a lot easier and if it is a mechanical part then the CAD files can be used to make mechanical parts, either with CNC machines (Computer Numerical Control) or 3D printing, which is precise and easily changed.  Electronic VLSI is designed similarly, but gets tested in simulators (there are software people who specialize in writing simulators - They're usually kind-of weird) until the chip works properly in Sim and then a file is sent to the chip foundry to make the VLSI in silicon.  Both processes have similarities.

So a lot has changed at the Micro level where things got smaller and do more, while not a lot has changed at the Macro level where you integrate whole functioning sub-assemblies over standard communication protocols.  Engineering geeks of all ages are still building pretty neat stuff, but their tools and building blocks have gotten a whole lot better.  My grandsons are building robots I couldn't have dreamed of.

Considering that most new cars since 1985 have come with an ECU and fuel injection, the only market for conversions is the collector car market (Us) and there is enough diversity in engines to make something off-the-shelf for a plug-and-play solution not economically practical.  Numbers tell the story:  There are enough 'Murican V8 Hot Rods out there that outfits like Holly and Edelbrock can make bolt-on EFI for them that is cost effective.  But there's not enough 2-liter aircooled VW's out there for suppliers to get excited about making an EFI kit for us.  Or rather, there are a handful, but the cost is really up there and they may not be ideal.  Mike and Danny have given us parts lists and offers of help.  The rest is up to us.

So you get enterprising guys like the three up above who say "Screw it - I'm gonna figure this out and do it!"   More power to them -

Somebody needs to lead the charge.  Snoopy Salute

@Michael Pickett - See what you've started?  😉


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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

I like pie, too.

What really intrigued me was the Speeduino, and it hit Mike as well, I think.

You take a known thing, an 8 bit micro-computer board for experimenters. It has 54(!!!) I/O pins all around the outside edge. We use the Arduino Mega 2560, which costs a whopping $15-20. Yeah, you heard right. An original Italian Arduino is more, but cheap Chinese copies can be had for cheap. The computer programs in C++ on a GUI on a PC, then the GUI compiles it for you and loads it in through a USB or via Bluetooth. It has only 256K of memory, but it's plenty for EFI. The computer runs at 16 Mhz, again plenty fast for EFI.

Then you take someone WAY smarter than I and design a daughter-board. This board has filters, voltage regulators, and ignition and injector driver transistors. It also has room for the crank and cam sensor inputs(with signal conditioning). The you post the designs on Github. There are companies that can crank these boards out one at a time or en masse. For a few dollars each.

The board I got was about $200, with the Arduino already bootloaded. I got the CPU, the board, the VR conditioner, the bluetooth board and a case, delivered.

Mine is called a UA4C, I think Mike got a Speeduino v3 from New Zealand(the originator). Mine came from Wisconsin(WTM). Tomato, tomato.

The whole project is open source: code, designs, boards, bill of materials, it's all out there for FREE. You just pay for the hardware you use. And you can donate to Josh if you like. There are tons of forums to get help also.

Stan got himself a Microsquirt, which is a GREAT solution for his application. It takes a lot of the question marks that Mike and I had out of the equation. I have no doubt it will run, and run well.

I don't remember the actual dollar total for my install(I think about $1000 or so, not including throttle bodies, fuel pump, and regulator). It was worth every cent. It runs better than it ever did, smoother, stronger, instant. It is a modern engine that needs an oil change and a valve adjustment once a season. I'm stoked.

And I've got a 2165cc, not a 2180.

Here's my build thread. Warning, it is 6 pages. I stayed mostly on point but we deviated into coffee for a while(not my fault).

Last edited by DannyP

In your Speedster EFI, it might be a PI.  🤣

I've been away from building computers for quite a while, now, but the thing that has impressed me the most, Danny described up above.  That is the growth of a YUGE! cottage industry of different supporting members all over the World, joined together by the Internet and e-mail.  You want a complete 8-bit CPU with a proven, stable OS hard coded in?  Sure....Look here.  You want that as a 16-bit I/O intensive module?  Right over here.  32-bit full function to industry standards and you supply the OS and I/O subsystems?  Got'cha covered over there.


The last computer CPU I was involved with was the Data General "Eclipse" MV-10,000.  It was the size of several refrigerators.  Buy a more-or-less standard configuration with adequate storage, 100 user terminals, a few printers and say a dozen I/O peripherals and the customer cost was around $2 Million and people thought that was a good buy.


A short time later, a small group of designers created the "Eclipse-On-A-Chip" which put two of those refrigerator sized cabinets full of of parts on a chip roughly the size of my thumb.  With better peripherals, the system cost around $500,000 and that was a great buy.  And it was faster.  And could handle twice as much of everything.  The time frame between the two was roughly 30 months.  

Micro Eclipse

Now, I have more compute power in my iPhone and can connect to the peripherals wirelessly (well, at least my printer, home theater, car and security system).  


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