VK56 S14 Build: Blog Update #3

So picking up where we left off, the chassis work and suspension was pretty much finished so it was on to focusing on the VK56 swap components and pushing development further. And let me tell you, now that we had a solid base vehicle to test it all in, it really helped us focus on just the VK56 components.

When Import Alliance announced the Kansas City event, we knew it would be a great venue to show the public the VK56 swap. We reserved a vendor booth to put the swap components and car on display…and got busy finishing as much of the car as possible to present it looking proper. The month or so leading up to the event was pretty crazy but the outcome and reception was nothing short of spectacular.

First up was further refining flange design for intake manifold, header, and oil pan.  The intake manifold flanges shown here are cut in 1/2″ 6061 aluminum.  Ideally, we’d like to go toward something CNC cut for our intake manifolds, but to make that happen we’ll need your support in order to do a large enough run that they’re affordable.  More details on that later, but an intake manifold that clears the hood has been a big request and one we’re trying to fill; we’re just trying to make it happen in a quality and cost effective manner.

The oil pan flange is the key to being able to produce a full front-sump oil pan setup. The flange is pretty much dialed. Again, cut from 1/2″ 6061 aluminum plate. These will be available as a complete oil pan or flanges sold individually for those looking to make a pan for their custom application.

Oil pan mocked up, just sitting there. This is about 85% finalized and the first 100% full aftermarket front sump oil pan. No more modifying stock oil pans! Just a few small design revisions and finalize the oil pickup.

Followers of the build might recognize this engine bay. Yes, we slightly cannibalized the VK56 S13 to put the motor and trans in the S14, but here’s why:
1) The tester VK56 engine has over 200k miles and the tester trans has a blown second gear; the S13 motor and trans are good.
2) The flywheel and clutch in the S13 VK56 could be used in the S14 which saves having to buy them again.
3) The mount set, headers, and oil pan in the S13 were all non-production items so not really applicable going forward.
4) The EMS and engine harness could be used in the S14 and would save buying another setup.
5) Swapping the front relocated rack crossmember, elongated lower arms, and cut knuckles from the S13 saves a lot of time and they’re all S14 units anyway.
So while it was a bit painful to undo a lot of work, it really made the most sense in the end…and ultimately it would be going in a package that is being built to be driven hard. The S13 probably wouldn’t see hard track use for a while and we really want to test the swap components in the harshest environment.

She’s free. Mixed emotions taking this car apart as a whole lot of time was spent on it. This was the car that really helped push the VK56 swap forward as we documented each piece of the swap and troubles encountered.

And yes, we tried the equal length headers in the S14 and they didn’t fit. 🙁 We were both hoping by some miracle they cleared.

Such a good looking engine bay. The S13 will be back! It’s just going to be a bit dormant for a while.

First thing needed was a mount set to mount the VK56 and trans in the S14. I did a set in safety orange to add some pop and make them standout a bit more at the show. They turned out pretty cool if I do say so myself.

Mounts on the motor. Looking good.

Another part robbed from the S13 were the Regas. Again, they had tires already so it saved buying another set of tires. My only small gripe was they were stancy S13 sizes – 215/40r17 front and 225/40r18 rear. But they still looked rad…I just want a bit more meat on there in the end. I do love Regas though.

The final week leading up to the event was a blur really. So much was happening and no pictures were being taken. A lot of great progress though. One thing that did get done though was wetsanding, buffing, and polishing the 8ish year old paint. The clear coat was pretty ravaged and stained up after being in storage for six years. We started wetsanding it the night before we left around 6pm and the Greg finished buffing and polishing it around 3am (the hood just got a quick once over since we were going to remove it at the show). I cannot tell you how awesome the paint looks. Better than the day we painted it. It has so much depth and gold that comes through in the right light. We had been talking about repainting the car but I really fell in love with the green and am super happy with it. I had never been super pleased with the color but it is awesome.

Corbeau seat looking proper wrapped in the cage. We’re Corbeau dealers as well so be watching for them on the online store or hit us up for your specific needs!

I’d say we got the seat mounted low – I love it!

After about 1.5 hours sleep, we hit the road S14 in tow.

And after a final detail, we were ready to get setup. This tent was a game changer as it was crazy hot and sunny on setup day and the day of the event. For a bit of added drama, a huge thunderstorm rolled through about midnight. I woke up to hear what sounded like light hail, crazy winds, and a ton of rain. We had left the car parked at the event (and luckily everything packed inside), but I was fearing the worst when we pulled up the next day. But our relief, the car was unscathed; a few of the other vendors who set their tents up the night before weren’t so lucky.

Setup and ready to go! Vendor booth round two will be a bit more polished, but, to be honest, I was just happy to be there and the car and engine swap looking good was more important in the end.

And look good it did! The intake manifold was something we had been working on and had the pieces ready to go, but without time to final weld any of it, we just tacked it together and set it in place to show people what was coming – a VK56 intake manifold that clears the stock hood.

The intake manifold was put together AFTER buffing and polishing the car around 3:30am the morning we were leaving. Haha. But I think it really finished off the look and brought the swap together, even if not finalized or headers on the car. It just really helps to visualize what the complete setup will look like. And judging by people reactions, it was the right call to show it even it not fully welded.

Another piece we showed for the first time was our LHD S15 dashboard. This is just the plug for the mold with a few revisions needed but keep an eye out for it coming soon! We really took our time to keep spacing and such as close to OEM as possible.

The production version will be a FRP shell geared more towards a motorsports install – trim for cage, mount your gauges in the vent holes, etc. Should be super rad and I’m pumped to get one in the S14. No doubt the S15 dash has always been the best looking dash offered in a S-chassis. S15 dashes fit between stock S13 door cards. S14 door cards need removed or trimmed since they bulge where they meet the dash.

A big thanks to the folks at Import Alliance for putting together a fun event with a friendly atmosphere. If there’s one in your area, check it out! And thanks to everyone who stopped by the booth, chit-chatted and looked at the car. It was a lot of fun talking to so many people about the swap and meeting so many like minded people! Lots of positive comments and feedback!

But that pretty much brings what has been a crazy past couple months current as we are now back at it working on bringing these products to market! As always, most of the updates come on Instagram – @brickhouse_products – or our Facebook page – Brickhouse Products LLC – first so please follow, like, comment, etc to stay in touch!