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Old 07-29-2017, 02:16 AM   #1
Vintage anti-ricer
gsellstr's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: BFE Desert east of Cali
Default Gary's "I'll keep this one stock" 745Ti build

Ok, maybe it’s finally time, maybe not, but hey, 12 years in, I guess I’ll do it anyway.
It started back in the fall of 2005. Sitting in my cubicle at work, perusing craigslist on lunch, stumbled across a 1990 740 turbo wagon for $600. Pulled up the pics, description said 180k, IPD VX cam and adjustable gear, IPD bars, Bilstein HD’s, stainless brake lines, needs a head gasket. Pic’s looked like a decent stock, clean 740 wagon. For the price, figured I’d easily get that out of it just parting it out, or fix and sell, so I made an appt. with the owner to go look at it after work. Swung by the bank to get some cash for a deposit in case I wanted it, then drove to his place. Turns out he drove it home, went to go to work the next day, wouldn’t start, so he had it towed to a local reputable shop, they quoted him $2200 for a head gasket. One of the mechanics offered him $100 for it, he said no, had it towed back home. Next day the shop owner offered him $600 for it if he towed it back to them. He again said no, so that’s what he listed it for.

Start looking the car over, looks pretty clean, plugs were pulled, sitting on the fender ledge, rest of the car looked legit, so I offered him a cash deposit, would return in 2 days with a trailer, on the weekend. He refused the deposit, said he’d see me Saturday. Worked out well, got to his place, couple hours later I had this…

Of course, had to dig into it right then, so I did a compression test. 1, 3, and 4 were 170psi, 2 didn’t even bump. AT ALL. Strange, ok, pop the valve cover off, intake valve was ½” from the cam! Ok, dig into my first redblock, pop the cam out, follower out, sure enough, intake spring is 2 pieces. Cool, easy enough, figure I’ll try that first since it’s cheap, no fluids had mixed, see what happens. Off to the yard, new spring, install, cam back in, and…lit right off, smooth as could be. Well, now what, can’t justify parting it out, maybe I’ll drive it a little, even though I really don’t like wagon’s. First week went by, ended up hauling some stuff for a friend when she moved, realized this could come in handy. Already getting spoiled by boost since my 140 was my daily. Finally made the call I would keep it as my new daily, keep the 140 as a project, and leave this thing completely stock…words that would begin to haunt me in less than 6 months. What follows is over the course of the next 12 years of my life.
First things first, it was definitely too quiet, so an exhaust kit from SAM was in order. Queue the first TB group buy I ran. Got that installed, MUCH better, kinda realizing it could use a little more power, but only if something needs upgrading. Wait, what’s that, a 15G is a direct swap, AND easy to find at the yards? Hmm, okay, that could work, this 13c already has 185k on it, why not. Found one, sent off for a rebuild from the get-go, read about the weak spring on the stock actuator so I went with a Garrett actuator, and ended up with this.

Cool, definitely better, but it’ll need some additional fuel to go with more air. Found a set of brown tops, talked Mike into a set of chips, bumped the boost to 12psi, REALLY digging this thing now! Started noticing from time to time it would just bog down in boost though, so I installed an LC1, wired in to the Apexi turbo timer I had installed a few months prior, rather than run a gauge. Turns out it was going pig rich, going into knock enrichment, something it STILL does to this day, that nobody has been able to figure out (please don’t try, I’ve BTDT many times over, got a thread dedicated to that lol). Either way it wasn’t a constant issue, ran pretty well most of the time until boost was over about 12psi, so I figured what the hey, let’s go have some fun with it.

First pass, 15.5, managed to get it down to 14.9, that’s all it would do, but it was also having some traction issues, also needed some bushings. This was also about the time Kaplan started coming out with 7/9 subframes and Kenny started killing them, but better yet, Superpro had JUST started selling full poly instead of just the front end stuff. Cool, found a dealer that could get them, got a set inbound. Figured while the subframe was out I’d beef it up a little…

Cool, got that issue dealt with, shouldn’t need to mess with the subframe again (and I haven’t). About that time TLAO was getting into the exhaust business again so I decided to step up from a 3” to 3.5” downpipe (still in the car today, been thru a few different turbo’s) and also swap to the flat flange setup.

Ok, great, we’re doing awesome, now we’ll stop, and just enjoy the car for a while. That worked for a couple months, then I found an old-school IPD upper brace, which of course needed a lower brace. Went thru a couple designed, ended up with both. The current brace is the second pic with the first pic welded on the top side and some trimming behind the crossbar to allow for airflow.

Wow, that made a BIG difference, but over the last couple years I’ve been thru a couple sets of Billy HD’s, keep killing the fronts, start clunking. First one in the car had expanded so bad before I bought the car that I had to slide hammer it out of the tube. About this time someone local had a set of Koni yellow’s, so those were scored along with yet another set of strut mounts since this car was eating them for some reason. To date only the Duralast brand actually held up, while the other name brand stuff would last 12-18 months, but the DL brand was in there for 3 years prior to installing a set of these a few months back. Best thing I’ve done for the front suspension! Kaplhenke budget strut plates…

Ok, handling is solid, but it’s still got a lot of tire roll. Again, a craigslist find on lunch, called up Pat Pieper to pick these up. Told they were 17x7, Pat found 17x7.5 when he picked them up for me, when I looked, 2 were 17x7.5 Sport Edition E6’s, 4 were Fox Racing Evo 6’s in 17x8, ET43, for $140! Great, but despite the seller saying 1 was bent, Pat found 2 were bent, close inspection when I went to get tires mounted, 3 were bent. 7.5’s were fine. Send 1 of the 8’s out to get fixed, later sent the other two out, 1 couldn’t be fixed. These are the rims that now live on dieselboy’s 242. They are without question my favorite rim on my wagon but given the roads in my area, they wouldn’t hold up.
Doug Williams "Mr. Doug" 4/15/2009
Pete Fluitman "fivehundred" 7/14/2013
Mick Starkey "TrickMick" 1/10/14
Mark Baldwin "blue850t5" 7/19/18
Nick Fengler "fengler" 8/6/18
Thomas Fritz "stealthfti" 10/11/18
Bob Davi "bob davi" 10/2021

74 144 B20

90 745Ti

If you need Superpro bushings PM me for price and availability!
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