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This is an unusual project in as much as it came to me as a repair job after the owner drove it over a sleeping policeman and badly damaged the front subframe and various suspension components.

As you will see it turned out to be a complete rocket ship which although I enjoyed doing it, and is right up my street, it was only supposed to be a simple repair job.


The first part of the story shows the damage and repair from the accident, and the second half, the performance upgrade of the engine and systems associated with this type of conversion.


First of all the repair job consisted of a new subframe, steering rack, lower suspension arm, both struts and all the plastics underneath the front end. As I took the car apart, it became apparent that the exhaust pipe had been damaged from the bump which in turn had cracked the hot section of the turbo. It was this damage that caused the owner to decide to change the turbo for a bigger one rather than replace the existing unit. Instead of explaining the conversion here, I will explain with the photo’s as we go along.


The end result is a truly stunning vehicle without the bling factor. in fact apart from a few tell tale signs, it looks fairly standard from the outside, but with 370bhp on the inside.

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OK, so here we go, the vehicle is brought into the workshop and supported on axle stands while it is dismantled for the repairs to commence.

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first of all the number plate and backing plate are removed, the plate was in poor condition and it was decided to make some bespoke plates to sharpen up the look of the vehicle.

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The badge that sits on the bonnet has suffered from the weather and it was decided that a replacement was in order for that “image”

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The engine starting to be taken apart, partly to gain access to the bulkhead, and partly for a mini service to be carried out. As can been seen as the story continues, this was anything but a mini service.

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As the subframe was badly damaged, all the suspension needed to be removed along with the braking system and steering rack.

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The brake caliper and disc have been removed, and you can see the anti roll bar drop link is being undone.

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Track rod end nuts being removed, only one came off unfortunately.

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I undid the track control arm as the end refused to come off. It will need to be cut off and new ones fitted.

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The top shock nuts refused to come off and the rod split when force was applied. In the end I had to cut the off and hold the shock rod with stilsons.

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Using a puller to separate the driveshaft from the hub.

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The hub removed from the vehicle.

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Semi synthetic oil being added to the engine. This would eventually be replaced with super high performance Petronas F1 oil being used instead.

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Plugs installed and coil packs fitted. All will have to come off again before the project is finished, but at the time I didn’t know that.

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The spark plugs being removed.

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The passenger side track rod end having to be cut off as it refused to come undone.

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.....and the driveshaft being removed from the other side.

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.....voila ! The lower arm is damaged and will be replaced with a new item.

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The damaged subframe removed leaving the steering rack to be removed once disconected from the steering column.

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The new steering rack being built up on the bench.

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Cutting the track rod end off. Neither of these joints came off in the conventional way.

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Fortunately the bottom joint came off without too much bother.

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The hub finally stripped.

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At this point the damaged turbo had been discovered and so the relevant parts are being taken off the engine to make way for the modifications to take place.

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The steering column being disconnected.

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Parts being transferred from the old rack to the new one.

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the new badge fitted to the bonnet.

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Scuttle panel being removed to access the turbo and exhaust manifold.

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The exhaust manifold and top turbo tube removed. The new manifold will be an Audi TT one to mate on to the new K04S hybrid turbo.

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The wheels have been shot blasted and stove enamelled silver. A real transformation from the corroded items I started with.

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The wheels fitted with new tyres.

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The rear discs and calipers are to be replaced with new items.

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A bespoke front mounted intercooler is to be made and fitted. There are no commercially available intercoolers manufactured for a Beetle, so one had to be made. Alisport of Chelenham were employed to do so, and a first class job they made of it. Here the front of the car was being removed prior to it being trailered to Alisport for the work to be done.

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The front removed exposing the area where the intercooler is to be mounted. The subframe and suspension will have to be fitted before it can be transported.

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The new hybrid turbocharger. This is a much larger unit than the original and features a twin vane intake impeller.

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These three pictures are of the blank I made for the turbo where the EGT sensor would go on an Audi TT. The Beetle uses a slightly different arrangement.

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These three pictures are of the blank I made for the turbo where the EGT sensor would go on an Audi TT. The Beetle uses a slightly different arrangement.

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The new turbo built up, ready to be installed on the engine.

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The new subframe ready to be assembled with the steering rack etc.

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Subframe finished ready to go on to the body. the lower suspension arms will be attached once the subframe is bolted up.

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the turbo fitted to the engine. As you can see the old exhaust pipe won’t fit on the turbo as it has a side exit rather than a rear exit as was on the original unit. A new header pipe will need to be made which will mate to a new sports exhaust system.

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New Macpherson Struts were fitted to both sides of the front suspension.

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The car finished as far as the suspension is concerned. It is now waiting to go to Alisport for a bespoke intercooler to be made. Nothing is available commercially, so the only way is to make one specially. Alisport are such a company who make radiators primarily for Landrover, but will do one off’s as well.

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The new exhaust fitted with two mean looking tail pipes. Hopefully it will have the desired exhaust note once the engine is running.

Right, that’s the repair part of the job completed. The next part is the modification of the engine and performance upgrades that will make this vehicle that bit special.

This is the feed pipe from the intercooler to the inlet manifold. The flange you can see here is the sensor that tells the ECU how much boost is being created prior to the air going into the throttle body.

The front bodywork has now been refitted. The large blue pipe that can be seen through the headlight is the new intercooler pipe running into the inlet manifold.

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One very sexy inlet manifold fitted to the head

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Throttle body fitted and the inlet pipe from the intercooler. The smaller pipes are vacuum pipes that control the idle.

The cam cover has been removed and shotblasted before being stove enamelled. The paint has been colour matched to the blue hoses for extra effect when the engine is displayed.

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Here you can see the fuel delivery return pipe and pressure regulator. The fuel pressure has been increased to 4 bar along with new TT injectors to cope with the extra fuel the engine will need.

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This is the pipe that connects the outlet from the exhaust side of the turbo to the sports exhaust system. It has been wrapped in a special heat proof bandage that will help to keep the temperatures down under the bonnet and surrounding pipework that could be damaged by heat.

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The freshly painted cam cover fitted with new stainless fasteners. You can see the heatshield I had to make which helps to insulate the exhaust manifold heat from the pipe leaving the turbo. The cooler the air, the denser the charge and the more power the engine will make. That’s the theory anyway.

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This is the casting that would originally have had the secondary air flowing through it. This isn’t going to be used on the uprated engine, so I made a blanking plate which you can see fitted.

The next three pictures are me making a support bracket for the oil dip stick tube. This would have originally been bolted to the old inlet manifold, but on the new one there was no provision.

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The finished engine.

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