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Author Topic: Chenowth Explorer VW to Ecotec conversion  (Read 555 times)

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Chenowth Explorer VW to Ecotec conversion
« on: March 29, 2016, 11:24:40 PM »
Here is a Chenowth Explorer that has been in my possession for the last couple years. 

It belonged to a friend of mine, who had other vehicles to play with so I took this one off his hands to "borrow" it and use it like it was my own. Well as it usually goes, desert vehicles get damaged, and after a few incidents, and a few repairs I finally blew the 2300cc VW motor.  At that point I convinced my wife that the right thing to do was buy it off him.  Not sure but that was probably his plan all along.  And mine.  So i made him an offer and sealed the deal.  So that left me with a conundrum.  I wanted to keep it as simple as possible so originally i bought a 2185 vw with fuel injection and hydraulic lifters off a friend of mine who was putting a subaru into his baja bug.  After hearing it run, and noticing a little clickity clack, I opened up the motor to inspect it and the minor valve train noise was a shot rod bearing.  So much for simplicity, not gonna do it.  My buddy gave me a refund and I was back to the drawing board.  Decisions decisions.  Subaru or Ecotec?  After deliberating over that, and having several buddies pushing the subi on me, I decided to be a rebel and go for the Chev.  Main reasons, they are a dime a dozen, make decent power, and are class 10 and 3000 legal.  That last one may play into the completion of another car you guys have read  about, but that is a story for another day.....

The goal is not to race this, it is to enjoy the desert, which I have done at length over the last couple years.  The car was built as a prerunner for BITD as Allen was racing class 2000 (1600 in  score) when he built this car in 2007 or 08.  He has since moved on to class 1 so no need for this old thing.  He built a helluva car though.  Howe power steering, parker pumpers, radio and intercom, built 091, King triple BPs, fox coilovers, you know-all the goodies.  I have 2 dirt trips planned this year on top of 3 races I am helping put on.  One trip is in Utah, 600 miles in 2 days.  That is the ultimate shakedown run in June.  In October we have a 5 day, 850 mile trip across NV and CA.  First race is in May.  Better get after it.

One trip to the junk yard, one motor pulled.  I picked a 2003 Saturn, for it's 2.2 ecotec.  I know, some guys are going to say "2.2?  WTF?!?  Why not the 2.4, it's 30 more HP and better blah blah blah."  Trust me, I heard it at length from Pistol Pete at this years Battle at Primm.  Reliability is my answer.  The trans will last longer with less HP, and I could buy 10 or 12 junkyard motors for the replacement cost of a blown up tranny.  One day my little 2 seat rorty hybrid will have a romping stomping 2.4 on an MD4 or 5 and run against all 3 of the class 3000 cars that are still around by the time I finish it.

After I returned the extra fan assembly and flywheel, I was at $350 for my motor.  Notice the next time i need a long block from the junker it'll be $135.99.  I wanted to be under $2000 for the swap.  rofl The car had front corner damage from 2 months ago, and had not been touched at the junkyard.  The "runs & drives" on the windshield told me it was the right one.  Now it was time to get to work.  First order of business- get the harness and ECU out to Enginewiring.com  - $500.  They were 7 weeks out when I sent it in, so by the end of April that should be back.  Ordered the Kennedy adapter and flywheel and a new clutch - $630.  Walbro Fuel pump- $100.  I also ordered and installed new timing and balance shaft sets, and a new water pump- $150.  New seals- $50.  Still need Headers at about $400.  There goes my 2 grand budget.  Still going to buy the power steering bracket $150, and a few other things.  Budget is getting closer to $3k. 

The motor is hung in the car now, and I have some fab work to get done by the time my harness shows up.  I know it'll be tight to get it done by the second week in May for the first race, but that is the goal as of now.  Also, my wife just broke her leg this weekend, she has a fertility related procedure planned for this month, and I am heading to Florida for a week next month.  Plus a day job and a large permanent public art installation going in a new Salt Lake City Park due next month.  Holy shit what is wrong with me? 5:

« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 11:35:54 PM by T8erhead »


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Re: Chenowth Explorer VW to Ecotec conversion
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2016, 12:27:09 AM »
Wait, somebody actually listens to Pete?  rofl



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Re: Chenowth Explorer VW to Ecotec conversion
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2016, 06:56:29 AM »
You know, Pete was a nice enough guy, and I enjoyed talking with him.  Some friends of mine rented a couple of his trucks for BAP and the NORRA 1000.  Wish I was going to Mexico with them.  Disclosure- He was trying to sell me on some Baja Adventures so his demeanor could have been influenced by the possibility that I would be a future customer. 

Today I'll get down to the shop and see what I can do.  I left pretty quickly this weekend to take my wife to the hospital for her leg.  I was in the middle of a major cleanup so finishing that will probably be all I get done.  I need to pick up some tube from Marmon, hit the scrap yard to clear 6 months of plasma table drops off my trailer, and pick up a couple 4x8 plates of 3/8" for this art project. 
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