Hey there, DIYAutoTune fans! Billy Jarrell here, and today we have the pleasure of interviewing Brandon Weber, a car enthusiast from Baltimore, Maryland. This week’s Project Spotlight focuses on one of his more exciting projects. A 1995 Volkswagen Golf GL, equipped with MicroSquirt engine management and a Turbo VR6! Let’s dive into the details of this impressive build.
Getting Into Cars
Well before the Turbo VR6, Brandon’s passion for cars runs in the family, with Mustangs being a significant influence. However, his journey into the automotive world began with some unique projects. One of his early endeavors involved a 1997 Ford Escort station wagon. Affectionately known as the “pickle,” thanks to its green color. This fun project received various modifications, including XXR wheels, cut springs, and a Honda Civic lip modified to fit.
One of Brandon’s favorite early projects was the 1988 Ford Festiva, where he swapped in a 1.6T (B6T engine code) from a Mercury Capri XR2, bringing the car to life with an impressive 160hp. The experience of driving this boosted Festiva was thrilling, to say the least. Despite its sketchy nature, the car’s raw power left a lasting impression on him. However, the wiring challenges he faced during this build taught him valuable lessons about perseverance and problem-solving.
The Turbo VR6 Golf
Now, let’s focus on the star of the show, Brandon’s 1995 Volkswagen Golf GL. The project found its way to Brandon through a Facebook marketplace find as an unfinished gem, presenting an opportunity for him to dive into something new. Equipped with a VR6 engine, the car already had a head start toward greatness. After watching videos of turbocharged VR6 cars on YouTube, Brandon was instantly captivated by the idea of boosting this Golf.
Currently, the car competes in straight-line drag racing, with the aim of running in 10-second index racing once the necessary safety equipment is in place. Brandon’s personal records include a 10.86-second pass at 131mph. With his recent upgrades, he expects to reach even lower times, possibly in the mid to low 10-second range.
VR6, meet MicroSquirt Engine Management
The heart of this potent VW Golf is a 12-valve Turbo VR6. This engine features a BorgWarner S369 billet wheel turbo, delivering impressive power output. The setup also uses a 50hp shot of nitrous during launch to tackle the turbo’s lag.
Now, let’s talk about the brain behind this beast – the MicroSquirt standalone engine management system. Brandon made a wise decision to go with MicroSquirt, mainly driven by the low cost of the unit compared to other ECUs on the market. Despite its affordability, MicroSquirt offers a wealth of inputs and outputs, providing Brandon with all the functionalities he needs at a fraction of the price.
As for the installation, Brandon was pleasantly surprised by the compact size of MicroSquirt, packing a punch within its small form factor. However, learning the wiring and setup for his specific sensors, crank trigger settings, and dwell presented some initial challenges. But through self-learning and extensive trial and error, Brandon successfully mastered the tuning process.
In true DIY spirit, Brandon handles all the tuning, engine work, and wiring himself. He owes special thanks to Paul Kiernan for offering valuable insights into tuning and using TunerStudio/MegaSquirt. Additionally, John Kerr from J.K Tuning deserves a shoutout for tuning the car initially and helping Brandon build his tuning skills.
Tips and Tricks for the MicroSquirt Switch
For those considering a MicroSquirt upgrade, Brandon offers some advice. Don’t forget to invest in a good map sensor (like the GM 3 bar) since the MicroSquirt lacks an integrated map sensor. Proper calibration of sensors, such as the TPS and map sensor, is crucial to avoid unnecessary troubleshooting during the tuning process.
Regarding wiring, Brandon recommends having the correct tools, including wire strippers and specialized crimpers for certain pins to ensure optimal contact.
The Road Ahead
As Brandon’s MicroSquirt-equipped VW Golf continues to evolve, we can’t wait to see the impressive performance it delivers. We wish him the best in his racing endeavors and hope to witness his machine conquer new challenges and achieve greater records in the future.
And there you have it, DIYAutoTune fans! We hope you enjoyed this Project Spotlight featuring Brandon Weber’s MicroSquirt-equipped Turbo VR6 VW Golf. Stay tuned for more exciting projects and interviews! Until next time, keep those wrenches turning!