SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspension

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KR250
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SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspension

Post by KR250 » Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:19 pm

Hi all, I've been a long time lurker and infrequent poster for almost 2 years now. Thanks to many of you on the boards here for the inspiration, information, and help in getting me started on this project. Having sold off my previous "fun" cars a while ago, I was waiting for the right project to get back into the hobby. My wife had casually mentioned wanting a Karmann Ghia a few times in the past, and after some research I found these boards and was sold on the idea of a Subaru engine swap, and conversion to modern suspension and brakes. The harder part was selling her on the idea, but she finally agreed that I could do whatever I wanted with the rest of the car, so long as it looks "close" to stock. :D

So I bought a '67 Karmann Ghia in March '12, along with a version 5 JDM EJ207 shortly after, and then the Subarugears group buy. It's been a very slow process as I save up for each step, and had hoped to make progress more quickly, but will take my time until the project is complete. The goal is to put together a fun street car that I also plan to take to the track (road course), as well as car shows, or whatever else. I've raced karts/cars for 24 years so far so I'm heavily leaning to a race inspired aspect for this project. I'm trying to complete as many of the steps myself as I can (I have a semi mechanical background), minus the fabrication work.

Here is an brief outline of my current plan:
  • Subaru engine swap, will eventually build up the engine and use a larger turbo, likely a Garrett GTX3071R.
  • Flipped Subaru transmission using Subarugears 4.86 ratios and Quaife front LSD. 4.44 would be perfect but not yet available.
  • Front mounted radiator, with lines through the tunnel if possible.
  • Stand alone EMS (likely AEM as I already have an MXL Pista dash that will interface with it).
  • Full Mendeola suspension and IRS conversion.
  • Initially planning on Ohlins TTX36 inline shocks and springs but Likely will go with the Fox shocks instead due to cost.
  • Wilwood brakes or equivalent.
  • Full roll cage, and various fabrication work to tie in the cage to the suspension mounting points via the body.
  • Wide tires with some form of fender flares or extensions. Going to try and keep this clean looking.
  • Clean up the interior, possibly some custom upholstery.
I've been keeping track of progress through a blog style website I put up, http://SubaGhia.com. I've linked back to many builds on here (sorry if I haven't got them all yet, it's still a work in progress), vendors, along with other bits of information that I've found useful. I finally have it mostly up to date and figured now is the time to finally post a build thread here. I'm still working on assembling the transaxle, and hope to have it done over the holiday break which will mark one of the first pieces of progress I've actually made.

Please check out the website for content as well and let me know any comments or feedback you have. Hopefully it is useful for others as well.

-Kyle
Last edited by KR250 on Wed May 28, 2014 12:37 pm, edited 4 times in total.

ivwshane
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by ivwshane » Wed Dec 25, 2013 10:06 pm

Nice! I'll be doing something similar once I find a good ghia body.

I'll be interested in how you do the front radiator.

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:32 pm

Ok, question for those of you that have already completed your SubaruGears transmissions. What is the best way to torque down the pinion shaft nut? Looking at the shop manual shows some sort of special tool that holds the gears in a vice. The manual states 86.8 ft/lb, then also mentions checking starting torque. I was thinking of assembling and putting on a Subaflange to attach a breaker bar for opposite torque. Any thoughts?

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Getting close to finishing this up, gear mesh was reasonable but not perfect. Backlash set almost spot on to .006" or .15mm. I'm using the 4.86 ratio, so unable to measure with pinion depth tool gauge.

Backlash.M4V

Case is now sealed up with Yamabond, new seals in place, just need to order some new bolts and hardware and finish cleaning and plugging up the transfer case housing.
Last edited by KR250 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.

56SemaRag
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by 56SemaRag » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:50 pm

KR250 wrote: All of my pictures appear to be too large to post here
Nice work Kyle looking forward to the updates.

I use Photobucket because it has the ability to automatically scrub your pictures down to the size needed for STF in the settings of a PB account. Makes it easy to take a picture with a mobile device, quickly upload it to PB and post here using the [img] syntax.
56' Semaphore Ragtop Subaru (Build)
Subaru Engine & Transmission
Mendeola Suspension

69' Karmann Convertible (Build)
Suby AWD Driveline


05 Suby Baja Turbo - Stage 2+
07 Legacy Spec B - Stage 2
15 Suby Forester XT

ivwshane
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by ivwshane » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:31 am

What's your plan for the clutch? Will you be utilizing the subarus master/slave setup or going with a modified (or unmodified?) ghia clutch setup?

I'm so used to the ghia's and my westys clutch setup that when I drive my forester I have problems shifting smoothly due to how it shifts (maybe as I drive it more I'll get used to it).

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:27 pm

My plan is to utilize the Subaru slave cylinder, and a new Wilwood master as part of a new pedal assembly I'm using, so it will all be hydraulic. The master cylinders stick forward of the pedals so I need to clearance some room for ideal positioning.

More pictures and details to come soon once I get back from a business trip.
ivwshane wrote:What's your plan for the clutch? Will you be utilizing the subarus master/slave setup or going with a modified (or unmodified?) ghia clutch setup?

I'm so used to the ghia's and my westys clutch setup that when I drive my forester I have problems shifting smoothly due to how it shifts (maybe as I drive it more I'll get used to it).

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 3:43 pm

Ok, figure I'll start back at the beginning now that I've re-sized all my pictures properly.

Here is the car just after driving it home. Body is in reasonably good shape with very minimal rust, located mainly in the battery tray area, and some minor bits under the front bumper area. Not bad for a car I bought 30 miles away in the PNW :) I only drove it a handful of times before beginning on the project, just enough to understand how it drives and what I wanted to change. It came with all the service records which show quite a bit of repair work. One of the big things I noticed is how much the rear is lifted causing massive positive camber in the rear.
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I bought a version 5 JDM STI engine (EJ207) with transmission several months later after searching on Ebay. I plan to use a custom ECU so I didn't get the later version engines that have the variable valve timing (AVCS). The price was pretty reasonable, although the engine needs a lot of cleanup which I'll get to a bit later.
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I received most of the wiring with the engine, although parts were cut off during the engine removal. I sorted through and found everything I believe I need. I'll be coming back to this later once I get to re-wiring the rest of the car.

This is what I started with:
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In progress:
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Removed all climate control wiring and cleaned down to just the engine harness.
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De-pinned the unneeded wires from the engine harness connectors. There are some plug-n-play aftermarket ECU's so I may be able to retain the connectors, if not I'll modify for the new ECU.
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Before I began this, I decided I wanted to refresh the engine before transplanting it. Goals are larger turbo, air-to-water intercooler, high RPM capability, and all new seals and rings. I also wanted to inspect everything and determine that everything is in good shape. I may also purchase a cheap naturally aspirated engine to work out any bugs in the car before placing the turbo engine in.

Lots of cleanup needed:
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Left side head, looks to be in great shape:
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Right side head, also in great shape:
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Valve train laid out, I plan to replace the springs at the very least and will do basic gasket matching on the ports with everything removed:
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At this point most of the engine parts are labeled and packed into tubs until funds allow further work on re-assembly.

More to come shortly....
Last edited by KR250 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:04 pm

I started off with a very dirty transmission, similar to the engine. The unit I purchased was a TY754VBAAA. This has a taller 5th gear with an overdrive ratio of 0.738. In the process of fitting the Subaru-Gears reverse ring and pinion, I also ordered a complete seal kit from Rallispec (RST-1118B), along with new speedometer sensor, clutch slave, case bolts, an assortment of pinion shaft shims, and some other misc items.

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My initial group buy purchase from Subarugears including the 4.1:1 reverse ring and pinion:
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Some of the initial dis assembly of the case halves. Breaking them loose took some work and a very fine blade to break the sealant.
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Cutting down the center differential housing:
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Slightly more progress, still need to clean it up and seal it with the plug and some devcon:
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Moving on to the case clearancing, I used a porting tool for cutting down the webbing. This worked quite well and gave a lot of control over not "missing". It just took a fair amount of time and patience.
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Got it down pretty clean, close enough:
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Fitting the new SubaruGears ring gear to the Quaife LSD:
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Final test fit. I initially started off using the stock differential as a mock up and some clay to find where I need to clear more material. You can still see a piece in the picture.
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Stock pinion shaft:
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Now with the washer removed, I improvised a bit on pulling this off by using an L bracket and even force on opposite sides:
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The gear set with the pinion shaft removed, including the stock shims:
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Pressing on the pinion washer onto the new pinion shaft using a piece of PVC as mentioned by another forum member:
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Mocked up in the case with the Suba-Spool installed. In order to measure the backlash accurately, I later removed the Suba-Spool for the dial gauge to be able to line up with the splines and measure just the pinion backlash and not the whole gear set.
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Once mocked up with no shims installed, used the pinion depth tool to figure out how much to add in:
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At this point, I ended up returning the 4.1 ratio for the newly released 4.86 ratio to better match my overdrive gear, high rpm, and taller tire goals for the car. This translates to approximately 3400 rpm at 70 mph and 163 mph at 8000 rpm which gears it better for track events.

Measuring backlash, the photos show about .007 difference from the angle but was closer to .006" or .15mm. The previous video posted earlier shows the actual difference better:
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With the 4.86 ratio Todd mentioned the pinion depth tool won't fit properly due to the non-standard Subaru ratio and oversized pinion head. So I went with the physical mesh test to determine the shims needed after properly setting the backlash. I went at this many many times to get a baseline first, what I found is that the pattern didn't change too drastically and shim thickness had little to no affect on the backlash measurement. The pattern I got wasn't perfect and showed the mesh close to the toe (inside), however once loaded this will move closer to the center.

Also, just to be sure clearances were good between the Quaife LSD and the pinion head, I took a picture and found enough clearance between the two.
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Almost finished with this after way too long, I think I started it last August. Just waiting for more case bolts and other pieces and to seal up the center diff housing. I also figured I would attach the Suba-Flanges in order to attach a cross bar to torque down the pinion shaft nut.

More pics once I get that finished...
Last edited by KR250 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Master slacker
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by Master slacker » Fri Feb 21, 2014 10:11 am

What gaskets will you be using for the heads and where did you get them?

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 12:04 pm

Master slacker wrote:What gaskets will you be using for the heads and where did you get them?
I haven't purchased anything for the engine yet. I'm holding off most of that stuff until I have the chassis work completed first. It'll likely be another year at this pace before I get to that :|

I'll likely go with a factory gasket kit from Rallispec. They have a great selection and specific kits for the JDM EJ's.

My other thought was Cosworth head gaskets.

Hegel
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by Hegel » Sat Feb 22, 2014 10:38 pm

this is awesome. I put your website into my favorites tab and will check it frequently, you are doing pretty much exactly what i wish to do to my car. perhaps when I am over on the west side of Washington ( my family lives in bonney lake) sometime I could help you out if you need it. projects like yours motivate me to work on mine.

thanks,
Steve

Master slacker
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by Master slacker » Sun Feb 23, 2014 12:02 pm

Well look at that. I was under the impression that Phase I gaskets were hard to come by nowadays. That's why I asked. Hmmmmm...

SuperRSi
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by SuperRSi » Sun Feb 23, 2014 1:35 pm

Nice work! I look forward to watching this one.

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:29 pm

Anytime Steve, I travel a lot but let me know if you plan to head to the wet side of the mountains. I can always use help or motivation, or both. The car will hopefully be getting the roll cage and suspension installed in the next few months so will hopefully be a little more to look at later this summer.
Hegel wrote:this is awesome. I put your website into my favorites tab and will check it frequently, you are doing pretty much exactly what i wish to do to my car. perhaps when I am over on the west side of Washington ( my family lives in bonney lake) sometime I could help you out if you need it. projects like yours motivate me to work on mine.

thanks,
Steve

KR250
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Re: SubaGhia - '67 Karmann Ghia - EJ207 - Mendeola suspensio

Post by KR250 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:54 pm

Another little update finally, went off to Russia for a business trip and needed a few more parts, however finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel for this stage.

The new 4.86 ratios that I installed previously.
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Sealing up the case halves with Yamabond 4 as mentioned by others on here as being the correct equivalent sealant. Bought it off Amazon.
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Did not have to apply very much, just a thin bead evenly around.
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Torqued down, you can see a little bit of overflow, perhaps just a little bit too much.
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I cut up and filed down a leftover piece of aluminum to plug up the hole as close as possible. You can also see the pressed in SubaPlug.
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After applying the Devcon to seal it up, all set. It could use some more clean up, but fine for now.
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I applied Devcon to the shaft area also, it has enough consistency to hold it's form well enough for it not to leak down into the shaft area. Not perfect, but ok for now. I can apply more later to smooth it out.
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Cleaning and assembling the nosecone. You can see how the lever moves side to side, during mock up fitting I had to move it over to one side in order to get it to line up correctly when installing. I'll try and get a picture of that later too.
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One of the new seals installed as part of the gasket kit.
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Subaflanges installed. It was a very tight fit onto the Quaife, but nothing some lube and persuasion didn't fix. I ordered new dowel pins which I used a punch to insert.
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Mocked up just to make sure everything fits back together before sealing it up. I ordered all new bolts but missed one, so I'll hold off until I have a few more parts and time. Hopefully I haven't forgot anything else! (As you can see I haven't installed the new VSS yet)
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Last edited by KR250 on Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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