I wouldn't be a true Detailer if I wasn't also a true Petrolhead with "Diagnois: Modbug" and a somewhat delicately fettled car to show for it.
The subject is my beloved Peugeot 206 which I have owned since 2010, when it was an unmolested 2 and a half year old one-lady owner example as seen below.
What starts off as an innocent change of wheels, soon escalates into a roof spoiler, lowering springs, exhaust, ad infinitum as things progress down the line. We'll fast forward past the first 6 years to 2016 where up until then things were moderately slow moving and basic, to where we are now as I have aptly named it "FrankenPeugeot" - a strange amalgamation of parts from the Peugeot/Citroen parts counter catalogue.
In April 2016 I SORNed the car so it could receive an engine transplant as my friend was selling his tuned 2 litre XU10J4RS (306 GTi-6, for those without Peugeot on the brain) complete with Jenvey individual throttle bodies. The notion of such a power increase proved all too tempting, but alas I abandoned this engine swap as we found that the engine's mounting points were slightly positioned wider than the car's mounting positions; causing the engine to sit slightly on the twist. Driveshafts, were to be chewed up aplenty. Remedying this issue would have involved cutting and welding at the engine bay, a feat I did not want to proceed with in-case we ran into problems getting my originally electric fly by wire throttle set up car to run a cable throttle and still have all of it's weird CANBUS features working reliably. An engine such as this, perhaps belongs in a dedicated track car. One of these, my little 206 is not.
All was not lost though, and no effort up till this point was in vain. Stripping down the engine bay allowed me to treat a small bit of surface rust hiding in the corner of the firewall with Deox-gel and red oxide primer, and paint it all satin black rather than the drab primer grey colour reminiscent of the corner-cutting production factory. I didn't do a perfect job, but this can always be addressed later. Not only this, but I sent my piddly 19mm thick radiator to City Radiators of Bilston who used it as a template to fabricate a new one from scratch, with a much thicker aluminium core of 40mm, with super duper "S" pattern air tracts, or something! This design allows far more coolant to pass through and the increased air flow efficiency cools things down much better.
So, with the XU10J4RS going out the window, figuratively, not literally, I decided to go back to the trusty 8 valve that the car was designed for. But that doesn't mean settling for mediocrity, whatever that means subjectively. Sure, this car isn't exactly going to be catching bright green Nissan GTRs, and will be built with the aim of winning show and shine competitions in mind, but that doesn't mean it should be a paperweight either. Cars like this can easily be tweaked to hold onto the corners like politicians to their seats, so a little extra oomph can't go amiss either. The improved radiator was warranted as this particular 8 valver will be running a Kent PT40 camshaft*, 4-2-1 exhaust manifold and 2.5 inch system with 200 cell sport cat - the latter two sourced from MIJ Performance of Walsall, and the former of eBay Performance....
*A performance camshaft opens the valves further and for longer, per engine revolution, thus allowing a bigger volume of air and fuel mixture to enter the chamber, resulting in a bigger *bang* forcing the piston down harder delivering more force to the crank, in turn, erm, turning the wheels.
As your can imagine, more power equates to a slightly higher operating temperature, so now it should make sense that the improved radiator will hopefully keep under-bonnet temperatures down.
Also fitted to the car whilst locked up and not being let out, are a pair of Corbeau Sportline Boss Evo reclining seats, purchased around 18 months prior to the time of writing. They were ordered via GSM Performance who taken onboard my special request of the diamond quilt stitching and logo to be customised in red, in keeping with the cars black and red theme. The option to purchase the seats on a flexible finance scheme proved helpful at the time as I was also making huge investments into reviving APS Valeting like a phoenix from the ashes, to what you see as Detailed By Andrew today. The seats hug the shoulders and support the back nicely, offering a solid build yet not surrendering the race-car-esque vibe that the Corbeau brand represents.
By now you may wonder what would possess a person to spend so much time and money on a cheap car that is depreciating faster than my patience for the off-hand remarks Joe Public make about the cost of my work.
You see, the words "Detailing" and "Esoteric" go hand in hand. Not everyone understands the passion, dedication and enjoyment that can be experienced when meticulously planning, building and looking after a car. It's a hobby, for which little regard is given for resale value, quite simply because I do not intend to sell the car, and cannot put a price on a phenomenon that adds to the enjoyment of my life and the many friends I have made as a result. When I hear a quip along the lines of "oh, I dunno, it isn't going to add resale value to the car", I say "well, neither does your road tax, fuel or insurance but nobody bats an eyelid at that!". Enjoy life, is the moral of this story.
For the majority of its time off the road, the car has been sat there under a plastic sheet (I know, terrible for the paintwork) not doing much as I quite simply have invested all of my time and money into the business over the last two years, but I am now stepping things up a gear to get my pride and joy the way I want it and back on the road... Literally!
The short ratio gearbox attached to the little TU engine aids acceleration, but boy does it wail at 70mph! So a trip to the Parts Counter in Regal Motors of Bilston saw me order a 5th gear ratio from a Citroen AX 4x4 of all things - the only car in the Peugeot/Citroen range that had an MA gearbox with a 0,66 sized 5th gear. I really had to trawl the archives for this information! This modification will drop the revs at 70mph from 3,200rpm to 2,750rpm. A much welcomed increase in fuel economy and decrease in cabin noise should result.
Concurrently in the process of bringing everything to a location closer to home, I separated the gearbox from the engine block and proceeded to take it on the 50 miles trip home from Shropshire.
This is where we take Detailing to a level beyond machine polishing. Dirty components do not get re-installed into a car on my watch - so on top of changing the 5th gear ratio, the gearbox is going to be affixed to an engine stand to be fully degreased, cleaned, polished and enamel painted. The engine will be brought home separately, and will also undergo the same treatment. This will be covered in Part II.
Meanwhile, my 17" Pitlane alloy wheels, originally from a Peugeot 207, were being refurbished and powder coated by Wheelfurb in Dudley. As part of the process, they acid dip to remove old paint, shot blast to prime the surface, DA sand to remove light curb damage, and then put them in the bake oven to be powder coated a colour of your choice. On top of this, I opted for the wheels to be checked on the balancer and two small buckles to be removed using a high pressure machine. The only thing left to think of here is whether I want to go for 215/40r17 sized tyres, or 205/40r17... And do I go for the tried and trusted Toyo T1R, or the newer CF2?
The intention where the wheels are concerned, is that closer to the time of their fitment to the car they shall be machine polished with 1-inch spot pads to get the very best out of their gloss levels, before being thoroughly ceramic coated for future ease of cleaning.
Wheelfurb also worked magic on my upgrade intake manifold from a Peugeot 106 Rallye; with bigger inlet tracts and plenum helping to get more oxygen into the piston chamber and work in synergy with the other aforementioned modifications. My request to them was to powder coat it pillar-box red, machine sand the raised logo and design, before going back into the oven to be clear lacquered. They executed this perfectly, as my friends from near Falkirk might say, I think it looks "Braw".
This being the final (big) piece of the engine puzzle, I required a suitable cylinder head so one was sourced from the "Bay of e" and will be sent off to Motorcast in Wem to have the face skimmed, valve seats 3 angle cut, and the inlet ports opened up to match the tracts of the Rallye intake manifold.
The reason a different cylinder head is required, in my case the donor being a 1998 1.6 Peugeot 206, is that the TU 8 valve cylinder heads from 2001 onwards (like FrankenPeugeot) have an inlet spacing that looks like this: "O-O-O-O".
The Rallye intake manifold, and thus the car it came from has an inlet spacing like so: "OO-OO".
With this underway, Part II will also involve fitting it all together. Already with a multi-layer steel rubber faced Cometic headgasket, I don't need to buy another, but what I do need, is new head bolts...