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1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia
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Petroleum
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 4:48 pm    Post subject: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

I’m picking up a 1600 dual port engine to tear down and install in my ‘68 Ghia convertible. The Ghia has the original transaxle. I’m looking for direction on build options.

I’m relatively new to modular builds like VW and Porsche, of which we have a ‘68 Ghia convertible and a ‘76 911 Targa. My father in law is a retired VW mechanic so he has a lifetime of engine building experience, but I think it is limited to pretty standard builds. I have worked on my own cars for maintenance, modified the intake and top end of my Dodge Challenger, completed an in-frame engine Rebuild of a ‘69 TR6, misc work on the 911, etc. so I will be doing all the work except for what is required at a machine shop.

So with any engine build, it’s always a question of goals, budget and reliability.
1) goals - street performance engine starting with a 1600 dual port engine. I want to build something up that is interesting and has a good performance/reliability balance. I’ve read a bit about turbo builds which is a consideration until I rule it out. With so many options for cylinder/pistons, cranks, carbs/(FI?), etc and with associated case work, head work that may be required for higher displacement builds and so on, I’m trying to develop a list of options and associated work. This will also lead into required chassis upgrades (suspension, brakes, wheels/tires) to improve handling and stopping power to match engine performance.

2) budget - this is more a question of cost-benefit-reliability. If I can spend $3k on the engine all things considered, fine. If I can build a reliable turbocharged engine for $10k in parts, great. Anything in between a conservative reliable build and a more challenging performance build is fine. Just need to find that cost-performance threshold that’s going to work best for this build.

3) reliability - looking for good reliability. I don’t mind as little risk, so it doesn’t have to be great like with a stock 1600, but I don’t want poor reliability either on a maxed out build - whatever that might be.

Starting from square one here, so any advice on this build would be appreciated. If there is a VW performance engine book that would be informational, I do like to read so that perhaps I can ask more informed questions. I do use the search function too, but honestly the options appear to be more varied than what I’ve experienced with my Challenger for instance.

Longish post. Thanks in advance.
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Glenn Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Wow... so many options.

When my 1904cc failed, i was starting with a clean sheet. I considered a N/A Type 1, Type 1 turbo, Type 4 upright conversion and even going Subaru. I realized that since I was driving a Beetle, I wanted to stay with a Type 1 engine.

I wanted a "period looking" engine, so carbs, distributor and dual QP mufflers. No EFI or computers.

I wanted good power, but also to get good reliability.

Here's what i went with:
2180cc - 92 bore x 82 stroke with Weber 48 IDAs.
82mm forged counter weighted crank with Buick journals.
92mm Thick wall cylinders with the base cut down to fit in a 90.5 register in the case.
42x37.5 heads with 3/4" reach spark plugs
5.4 H-beam rods
FK8 cam

The complete build is detailed on my website, in my signature.

CHEAP - FAST - RELIABLE
You can only pick two.

You the best quality parts, meticulous attention to detail and you'll have a great engine.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also build engines and had a customer want an engine for his Bus. It was a "no budget" build and decided on a 2017cc with EFI and crankfire. It runs amazingly and he loves it. Just not for me personally.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You're gonna get advice from many people and everyone has their own opinion. So ready everything and make a decision on the direction you want to go. Just remember to go with a PROVEN combo, an engine designed by committee will be a disaster.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 5:44 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

I'm of the turbo mentality......

I took a stock 1600 blow thru 34 pict 3 Bocar carb and got enough power out of it to make the stock clutch not hold anymore. I think think it was around 130 hp.
I had a 1679 built that cost me about $1300.00. I bought the Fuel injection and ignition parts for another $1300.00 back in 2012-2013.
Total cost for that engine and original FI was about 2600.00. I had to add Water/Alcohol Injection to stop detonation which cost me about $200.00 for a home built setup.
That got me to around 17 lbs. boost and over 150 crank hp.

Adding a cheap Audi TT V6 intercooler brought me to 22 lbs. boost and it dynoed at 187 whp/200 lb. ft. of torque at 20.5 lbs boost.

I have almost 50,000 miles on a turbo 1600-1679 and have never had an turbo engine related failure that left me stranded.

You do have to watch your tune and avoid detonation but it is possible to build a reliable and powerful turbo setup for a reasonable amount of money.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

aircooled.net has several tech articles on VW engines; here's one: https://www.aircooled.net/category/vw-engine-how-to/
Your FiL might still have some dealer-spec repair manuals to help you with your upcoming engine. If not, the best repair manual for your dual-port (DP) based engine would be the orange Robert Bentley manual, covering from 1970 onwards. DP in the Type 1 started with the '71 model year. Torque specs, correct assembly procedures, tolerances, etc. Like this one- https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2489790
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 9:34 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

My engine builds have all been on the conservative side both N/A and turbo. My goals have always been getting the best bang for my dollar without sacrificing reliability. My personal experience is that nothing N/A will come close to the cost/HP that a turbo will give you. Keep the boost low for simplicity and durability and you will get an amazing engine in terms of a drivability, economy and power balance.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:23 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses. Some ideas on builds are interesting. I do have a Haynes manual for up through ‘69 for the Ghia, but will pick up some books on the DP engine since that’s what I’ll be working on over the winter. FiL will definitely help, but I gotta know what I’m doing too.

In terms of a turbo charged engine build, lots of considerations, not the least of which is avoiding detonation, importance of good tuning, fuel supply,etc. one question that I am unsure about is the useful rpm range of the turbo considering the rpm range of the engine. With a balanced crankshaft (<— is this a straight up purchase or is it worth it to have the stock one sent out for balancing… assuming that I stay with stock), is the rpm range still limited to ~5,000 rpm? Oil to the main bearings being the main issue? If so, then the turbo is designed to kick in at lower rpm I assume (small turbo). Still, it needs a range to spool up. Make sense? RPM range, turbo range, oil supply limitations…. All things considered what are some end result performance possibilities with a turbo? Butt dyno and driving dynamics wise as I don’t have a good feel for HP/TQ relative to this Karmann Ghia. I’m coming from a ~4,000 lb 400 rwhp/ lb-ft, 6300 rpm rev lim modified challenger perspective. Great acceleration and cruising, but I’m wanting to experience the air cooled world without a good reference on target hp and torque numbers. And the Ghia looks like it will be fun to drive.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 4:59 am    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Good engine balancing is important no matter what you build! Even a bone stock engine can benefit from a good balance. As for the power range of a turbo engine, you get to choose that by how you size the turbo and what camshaft you use. If you want the range to be the same as stock then use a stock cam and a turbo that come on at the lower rpms.

Yes timing, mixtures and temperatures are more critical with a turbo but again it all depends on how radical you go. Mild boost pressures up to 8 psi constitute very little need for much deviation from stock. A bit of spark retard under boost and an eye on cylinder head and oil temps. The higher up the boost ladder you go the more complicated and critical it all gets.

Because of the stock air cooled VW's inherit shortcoming in the breathing department, 6 to 8 psi boost makes for an amazing kick in the pants difference. Beware of boost creep addiction though... that is where it gets complicated. Clonebug can tell you all about that, he has a patent pending on that! Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 5:20 am    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Hey Pet. If you go with a Counter Weighted Crank you can spin them past the 5000 rpm limit of a 'stock' factory balanced crank Wink I did a 'Draw thew' turbo system ,Because for me It was cheap and I don't care for all the electronics that go with the F.I. , I run 15 Lbs. on the street & Strip 11.9 @115 (mopars are Slow Laughing )mph and gets 28 mpg too Wink I can wind it up to 8000 ,but no need too:lol:
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 5:51 am    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

I'm sure that your Ghia has disc brakes from the factory.
Go through them and make them work like new. You'll be happy and much more confident in the braking ability of your car.

Make sure to look at the rear brakes too. There are rear disc brake conversion kits available. If you want the extra braking power to, "whoa" your car back down from a high speed.


Check all the rubber bits in the front and rear suspension.
Worn ball joints, tie rods and bearings, make for a poor handling car. It's supposed to be fun to drive!

Your trans axle may need to be rebuilt too. There are a few local trans builders. These guys are more like independent shops. Not high volume shops like the outfit in Grants Pass.
If you choose to go high power. A transaxle upgrade is highly recommended. You don't wanna be pulling your new fun engine after breaking the transaxle. Like I did a few years ago. Shocked

Don't get hung up on the turbo builds. Unless that is the path you choose.
There are plenty of N/A engine combo's that will power your car and are easy to build.

A word of advice, Pick one builder here, that can guide you through the build process. "Too many cooks in the kitchen can ruin the meal."
There are a few very knowledgeable builders here. Read and pick one that makes sense to you and your needs.
Taking advice from many, just clutters the build and you end up with a poor running engine, that won't last as long as you thought it would.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:18 am    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Engine build posts on samba only ever get three answers lol
Keep it stock
Bore/stroke to max
Turbo
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

If you buy a kit, like glenn suggests, you just get a plain, boring build made up from whats available and put into kit form. More opinions are better, not less. Its not hard to find and buy parts to do a custom build. Just more time and money to get what you want, rather than what someone else wants to build for you, in order to make it easy for them.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 11:45 am    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Petroleum wrote:
I’m picking up a 1600 dual port engine to tear down and install in my ‘68 Ghia convertible. The Ghia has the original transaxle. I’m looking for direction on build options.


Might be headed in the wrong direction already.

I put away dozens of VW engines decades ago. Best of 'em had less than 50k original. That's not 50k after a rebuild that probably needs another rebuild, that's 50k after it left Germany.

But...

They're not as nice when they come out of storage than they were when I put them away. Time takes its toll. I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

I've torn down thousands of VW dual ports. Even years ago, it was a minority of them that were easily rebuildable.

The 2022 going on 2023 hassle is finding reliable machine work to rebuild a used case. There are plenty of "rebuilders" who get great reviews. There are damn few of them capable of accurate no BS machine work.

The other 2022 going on 2023 hassle is supply chain. Simple stuff that should be available... isn't.

I get the sinking feeling I picked the wrong time to get back into this.


Things to be aware of:

We used to segregate defective parts back when I worked for Chrysler, part of our quality program. Everybody does that. One of the 2022 going on 2023 hassles with some "NOS" is they were defective the first time around. Rolling Eyes Pretty sure they're as defective now as when someone originally set them aside. That has been my recent experience with "NOS" engine parts.


Aside from that, the typical rabbit hole is building a "race" motor with too much cam and too much compression. That's great if you drive around north of 5000 rpm all the time. I don't.


I damn near wrecked a rented Nissan Juke (Nissan Joke!) turbo in Chicago. There is no excuse for turbo lag like that. Light turned green, I mashed the gas and I almost got run over. Like I said, no excuse for turbo lag. No turbo for me!


I'm a big fan of a simple classic combination like a 1776. Use a mild cam like a CB 2280 if we ever see those again. You can get away with stock (ish) heads, a non- counterweighted crank and in general make it no more complicated than a stock build. I figure 100 smooth reliable horsepower is a lot more fun than blowing hundred dollar bills out a hole in my case.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:34 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Some more very good points from you folks. I do plan on rebuilding brakes, replacing lines, bushings etc. front disc, rear drums on this ‘68. Prob run with that unless for suspension and wheel/tire combo reasons it makes sense to do otherwise.

In terms of the path I am going down… it’s the right path. I really enjoy working on cars. Turning wrenches, building stuff. Fixing things. Raising things from the dead…which brought me to these cars I’ve worked on. ‘’69 TR6 sitting in a garage with all the parts necessary to Rebuild sitting in boxes at FiL’s house. Uhh - yah we’re going to rebuild that in my garage. Done and it was a fun learning experience. ‘76 911 Targa sitting in a barn rust free with the engine perched on an oil drum. Uhh - no, we are going to rebuild that in my garage. took that one as far as we can to date. Need to pull the engine and rebuild. What next? ‘68 Karmann Ghia convertible sitting on another barn, with complete engines sitting on shelves gathering dust. I here you that they may be in not so great shape, but they’re just sitting there doing nothing. FiL has machines on site for casework, head work, valves etc. If we need to get some surfaces machines flat or something else that we can’t do, we’ll get it done. I understand you guys saying to stick with a direction and go through with it and not build it by committee. Noted. I’m of the mindset to see the full menu, ask questions from experienced guys and gals, and know what I am NOT building just as much as what I AM building. I don’t want to go down the road without knowing the options only to kick myself later and say “ooh I should have done that instead.”

Another reason to get into the cars is to learn from FiL who isn’t getting any younger. When he’s not around anymore, I’ll be on my own. It’s good bonding time and a way to learn all he has to teach. Is hard to put into words the advice he gives because it doesn’t print well. You mechanics out there probably know what I’m talking about. You just can’t print experience in a book.

So… mild turbo build, with carbs sitting underneath the deck lid with matched cam, pistons, compression etc is a viable build? Doesn’t need to be EFI? I am leaning towards carburetors at this point. The ‘76 Targa has CIS and is going to be a challenge. Of course I have worked on modem EFI cars. Plus those carbs venturis look…so…beautiful!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 2:19 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

if carbs are your thing, then stick to N/A.
a well built (blueprinted, balanced....etc) 1835 or 1915 with a W110 cam is a force to be reckoned with! i'm sure you and your FiL will appreciate the "simplicity" of the build and will be more than impressed with the ride. kinda like glenn was saying, it's hard to go wrong with the tried and true combinations. there's a reason why they are tried and true, after all!

have fun with whatever you choose Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 2:45 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Petroleum wrote:
FiL has machines on site for casework, head work, valves etc. If we need to get some surfaces machines flat or something else that we can’t do, we’ll get it done.


There are a few aircooled VW specific tools and processes that are unique and esoteric. Read up on line boring magnesium VW engine cases. Gene Berg said "Don't do it!" so I built on new cases while they were available. Then I took a two decade break. I came out of hibernation to find new cases are expensive and relatively scarce. Like I said reliable VW machine work is difficult to find. It used to be if all else failed we could send stuff out to Rimco. With the sad decline of Rimco Brothers became the go- to shop... up until the sad demise of Brothers.

See a pattern here?

Line boring VW cases requires a tool specific to old VWs and Porsches. You're lucky if your father in law has one. You're even luckier if he uses it every day.

See... the way to set the tool up is to carefully set the cutters, carefully set up the tool and then try a test cut on an expendable case. Measure your test case and tweak your tooling until it's spot on. If you send your case out to a shop that does this every day you should (in theory) get a precise .020", .040", or .060" cut and your bearings will fit correctly. The necessary tolerances are tight and it's important to get it right. This is the heart of your motor.


Just because a shop has a line bore tool doesn't mean you're going to get precision work. There are a few guys out there and a few shops out there who do good work. There are others who are hit or miss.


It's garbage in, garbage out. There is no point throwing a turbo or high performance parts at a motor if the basics aren't right.

.
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Last edited by Dusty1 on Mon Dec 05, 2022 2:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 2:48 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

chrisflstf wrote:
If you buy a kit, like glenn suggests, you just get a plain, boring build made up from whats available and put into kit form.

Actually i never suggested a "kit".

My personal engine is all parts I picked and from different vendors.

Now if you want a kit, the CB Builder's Choice is a good start.

This started life as a CB kit. 2017 EFI w/ Crankfire. I wouldn't call it boring Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 4:19 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

Yes an NA build feels about right to me. I’ll save the turbo build for another engine that is sitting on the shelf. A NA build will be a good baptism for me into air cooled engines. And less for both of us to have to figure out. Then we can build on that success on the next one and so on until we are out of time.

That being said… 1776, 1835, 1915… it’s like a buffet here. I’m sure each one has its tried and true qualities. Any suggestions on where I can read up on these different CC’s to determine what’s best for the Ghia? I do want to reuse the heads, ok if there’s some porting or what not to maximize its potential. But I did read somewhere on here that modifying cylinders and/or getting aftermarket heads are needed with some designs. I would rather stick with what I know as drop-in cylinders and pistons, so that would rule out some (all?) stroker cranks, and some cylinder piston combos that will not fit on the stock studs spacing.

Is there a clear threshold for a setup that could be used? As helpful as you all have been on suggestions I know I have to do my own research too. Perhaps there is a good place to read up on that particular topic to answer my question and narrow down the list. But hey, if you’re willing to share a bit more knowledge I am truly grateful. There’ll be more to discuss too like carbs, before we get into the weeds on the best kind of oil to use (jk… I’ve learned that oil is one of those topics that explodes threads).
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

1915 using a cb builders choice as a starting point. The customer lives it.

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If you want details, pm me.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 7:24 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

You don’t want to reuse the heads…

If you do, might as well build a stock 1600
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2022 7:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 1600 dual port performance engine build options for ‘68 Ghia Reply with quote

txoval wrote:
You don’t want to reuse the heads…

If you do, might as well build a stock 1600

Agreed.. as they say "power is made in the heads".
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