Welcome back to another courageous tale of the underpowered yet underrated Mk3 two.slow!
In et 8/07 we went behind the scenes of Bahn Brenner Motorsport to unravel the potential of the 2.0 8v ABA motor. For as little as $2899, Mk3 owners can take home a BBM supercharger kit, install it in their garage and produce around 150whp. Step up to the stage 3 program for $4647 and you have yourself a 215whp car. This is amazing considering the factory power figures were 115hp and 135 lb/ft.
Having achieved impressive and affordable power, there was more to come, as we found with this '96 VW GTI owned by Andy Yeckel of Seattle, WA. His daily-driven project car is producing a healthy 227whp and 217 lb/ft with BBM's stage 3 kit and a 16v head swap.
Andy started his journey at the '04 Waterwagens show, where he encountered BBM while his car was bone stock. He was intrigued by their 2.0 supercharger and ordered one. After becoming acquainted with BBM owner John Betz, he turned out to be a good friend of the company and worked with them to develop a 16v head conversion for the ABA.
We sat down with Andy and John to understand the concept behind the conversion that uses the head from the 9A Mk2 16v. The head is significant because it shares similarities with the European ABF 2.0 16v motor that never made it to the US. "I think we got cheated because the rest of the world got the ABF," Andy explained. "The US got the VR6 but VW decided to detune ABF so it wouldn't compete with the VR6. It performed like a VR, and was light like an 8v and built like a tank. So the perfect solution for 2.0 owners in the US like myself was to make a clone of the ABF using Mk2 and Mk3 parts. We ended up with an ABA 16v using an ABA bottom end with a 9A 16v head."
After months of development, Andy and BBM finalized a turnkey kit. And all you need is a 9A 16v head assembly, easily obtainable from junkyards and classified ads, rather than a full 16v engine.
Included in the kit is the "Dizzy Gizzy" and modified intermediate shaft pulley. These parts allow the engine to run the factory oil pump and intermediate shaft; meaning you don't have to drop the oil pan or install a 16v oil pump.
Also included are a modified crank pulley, fuel rail, fuel pressure regulator adapter, injector cups, 16v timing belt, coolant hoses and flange.
In addition, BBM developed the 16v head kit to work with or without forced induction. A naturally aspirated enthusiast has the option of installing high compression pistons for more power, while a forced induction fanatic can either go super- or turbocharged.
In Andy's case, he already had BBM's stage 3 supercharger. "One of the benefits of using the ABA with the 16v head is that the compression is 8.5:1," Andy explained.
"So it's perfect for boost," John continued. "The 16v supercharger setup takes the power curve and gives you another 1000rpm of usable power. It makes the power curve longer and it revs higher."
After driving his supercharged 16v over an extended period, it's withstood all kinds of weather conditions and some intense driving. "The car gets abused daily in the city," he chuckled. "I utilize its potential and it's huge fun to drive. It goes through hell!"
Tech Spec1996 VW GTIOwner: Andy YeckelLocation: Seattle, WAOccupation: Designer
Engine: two liter ABA 16v with BBM twin-screw supercharger, custom ABA 16v stage three software, 9A 2.0 16v head, OBD1 ABA block with forged crank and rods, Ross Machine Racing BBM-spec 16v forged pistons, Techtonics adjustable cam gear and 2.5" stainless exhaust with dual Borla mufflers, ARP head studs and rod bolts, modified Scirocco intake manifold, BBM fuel rail and fuel pressure regulator adapter, 440cc injectors, modified 16v distributor, front-mount intercooler, ABF timing belt, modified 16v intermediate shaft gear, Dizzy Gizzy, billet front coolant flange and block-off plate, custom stainless steel coolant lines, VF-Engineering engine mounts
Drivetrain: 02A Corrado cable shift transmission, hydraulic clutch conversion, G60 228mm clutch with VR6 pressure plate, Quaife LSD, custom short shift
Suspension: H&R Cup kit
Brakes: ATE slotted rotors with Mintex Red Box pads
Wheels & Tires: 15x8" Compomotive TH-Mono wheels with billet center caps, 195/50-15 Kuhmo Ecsta AST tires
Exterior: VR6 chin spoiler, deleted lower grille, 16v badge
Interior: S3 Designs electroluminescent gauges, 42DD boost gauge pod, Auto Meter Competition boost gauge, OMP aluminum shift knob, color-matched trim
Audio/Visual: Alpine CDM-9801 head unit and Type R SWR component speakers, MTX Audio 12" subwoofer and monoblock amplifier
Thanks: John Betz and BBM, Fine Tuning, Jeff Atwood, friends and family