For every performance upgrade I attempt on Project Scirocco, theres some unexplainable turn of events that stops me dead in my tracks. Case in point, I was driving home from work one day ready to install my new Pioneer stereo system and I noticed steam pouring from the front grille; I popped the hood to discover a portion of the radiator had decided it had gone far enough, exiting the vehicle without asking. I was left a block from home with coolant squirting across the engine baynever a good sign.
That evening, I paged through catalogs trying to find a performance radiator upgrade. I hit pay dirt when I flipped though a Summit Racing catalog. The radiator Summit Racing was selling was a Summit-branded Scirocco-style radiator (part number SUM-380648) that, by all counts, should fit the Scirocco. Below the radiator in the same catalog was a Flex-a-lite twin fan shroud (part number FLX-365) that looked pretty trick. The Flex-a-lite shroud claims the fans alone should run the coolant nearly 20- degrees cooler than the stock setup. Since the radiator and fan assembly were both in the Summit catalog for big-block Fords and Chevys, I was a little hesitant, but I placed the order anyway.
Installing the radiator was a breeze. The complicated part was that only one radiator clamp reaches from the Scirocco to the new radiator. With a little ingenuity, however, three other braces can be manufactured out of nuts, bolts, and metal strips. It took me an hour or so to mount the radiator with custom braces, but now that its in, it isnt going anywhere. The fan shroud bolts straight onto the Summit radiator with no modifications. Its also interesting to note the Flex-a-lite fans will mount to the factory radiator without modifications. The only side note to mounting the Flex-a-lite fans is that I recommend temporarily connecting the power wires, as the fans can blow or suck, and I discovered connecting positive to positive made the fans blow. Swapping from blow to suck was a simple matter of wiring positive to negative.
With the radiator and fan assembly in place, the engine bay looks very clean. The reserve tank line now plugs into the drivers side of the radiator, as opposed to the passengers side, and there is also a radiator fill-cap, something the OE radiator was missing. When the fans turn on, they sound like a jumbo jet is landing on the hood, but the twin fans move so much air that the engine truly does run cooler. In fact, the factory VDO oil temperature gauge now displays the oil temperature at just more than 100 degrees Celsius, where it used to hover around 115. Thats quite an improvement.
I knew I wanted a new stereo because the old unit didnt play CDs, and for me thats a major problem. I also knew I wanted something lightweight, but had the capacity to play a lot of music without having to carry a cumbersome CD case. The solution came in the form of a Pioneer head unit capable of playing not only regular CDs, but also MP3 and WMA discs. As an added bonus, the head unit was XM Satellite Radioready.
The Pioneer head unit I chose is the DEH-P8400MP. The unit has a two-level motorized faceplate offering not only Pioneers entertaining OEL display, but also a brushedaluminum finish thats kind of overkill surrounded by the black-and-cracked Scirocco dash. The head unit outputs 50 watts to four speakers the speakers I chose to replace the torn stock ones are Pioneer TS-A4667 two-ways. The Pioneer speakers sound roughly a billion times better than the 17-year-old speakers I pulled outmaybe two billion times better.
A giant bonus of the Pioneer DEH-P8400MP head unit is that it plays MP3- and WMA-encoded discs. Through the magic of CD burners, you can easily create an MP3 CD with more than 10 albums on it at CD-quality. WMA files are even better, allowing nearly twice the albums of an MP3 disc while maintaining the same high-quality audio.
The Pioneer head unit is also XM Satellite Radioready. Satellite radio is something youve undoubtedly heard of as cable for your radio. I dont really want to reinvent the wheel on this subject, but that analogy is dead on, only its portable cable. XM Satellite Radio is available anywhere across America, and there are more channels than youll ever listen to. XM has channels dedicated to sports, stand-up comedy, pop, jazz, Frank Sinatra, and just about anything else you can think of. I didnt opt to hook up XM as of yet, but I did choose the DEH-P8400MP because of its capability of supporting XM through simply plugging in an XM box and antenna. Once I start traversing the country hopping from racetrack to racetrack, Ill definitely equip the car with the XM box and antenna to keep my sanity during extended trips. Check out www.xmradio.com to learn more about this feature and why you need XM in your car.
In the next installment of Project Scirocco Im going to start prepping the remainder of the car for running at weekend track events. On the menu are Cobra Imola 2 racing seats, harnesses, a stripped interior, a BMP/Isotta steering wheel, and better brakes. Following that Im going to dive into the engine compartment to suck a little more juice from the anemic 8v.