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Old 23-10-09, 19:54   #1
madrx3boy
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Madrx3boy's 1987 Holden Berlina

Hey guys

I should have done this a long time ago, but I’ve finally gotten round to doing a write-up on my Berlina project (and remembering to take photos straight after washing it, instead of remembering a week later, when its covered in crap).

Anyway, it’s a 1987 Holden (believe it or not!) Berlina sedan. I bought it back around March/April 2008, off a guy called Mike from Taumarunui (not the SIKVLT Mike).

It had the paint-job/colour as it currently is, which is a big reason why I bought it (I was after a car that had more room for stuff than all my previous Jappas had, which is why I decided to go for a Commodore. I didn’t know much about VL’s at all at that stage).

It also had the 16” ROH Reflexes? you see on it now. It’s been converted to manual (Murphy’s Law, only when I bought the car did it start having those electrical issues with the relay, so I bypassed it now it starts properly).

And he’d put VL Calais side skirts on it and painted them body colour, and in my opinion it looks fine like that (I didn’t even realize they weren’t standard until VL-Dan pointed it out to me).

It also has a grey Calais interior (which I like a whole heap better than the red on my Calais!). 2 minor probs, one is that the drivers seat is ripped on the outside just from wear and tear, and 2) the Calais door cards were not designed for manual window winders, so the rear ones rub a bit (and they still have the rear switches in them).

So yea that’s how it was when I bought it.

After driving it for a few weeks I decided it handled like Titanic, and it had the height of a 4WD, so I did a bit of research, stumbled across JustCommodores, (where SIKVLT found me and lured me onto CT :P), got some info about different spring/shock setups from both sites (mainly JC tho), and one day when I had the coin I dropped the car off at Mag n Turbo New Lynn, and they put some Dobi Super-Lows and a set of Monroe shocks in all four corners.

So that dropped the ride height a fair bit and it now handles a whole heap better than it previously did.

Next on the list was to replace that bus-sized steering wheel, so I found a Sportline 330mm one at Repco, along with a bosskit, and bolted that in.

Then in winter the rain came and I discover puddles of water in both front footwells (the car was parked on a sloping driveway, so all the water stayed at the front of the car). After pulling off half my dash I figured it was most likely my windscreen was leaking round the seals.

The windscreen also had a crack in it, So I gave State (my insurance co) a call and they handed the job to Smith and Smith, which happen to be just up the road from my work. The pulled the old one out and told me I had to get the rust repaired before they would put the new one in. so it went to their panel-beater, and they fixed it up (quoted me $360+gst, when I went to pick it up it was $660+gst, but I told them it was their stuff-up so I only paid $360+ for it. They repainted the whole roof so that it didn’t look tacky with new paint only around the windscreen. The paint has a glitter/flake in it, and they had trouble matching it with the rest of the car, so the top half is ever-so-slightly blue-er than the bottom half (you can see it in certain lighting conditions if you look at it closely). But It didn’t bother me toooooo much, I didn’t want to have to pay for a whole new paint job.

So then S&S put the new screen in and that fixed my leak problems (in the cabin anyway, the boot is another story).

I had decided that the car was going to be my new project, (at that stage I only drove it occassionally on weekends anyway). So I started tossing up ideas for the engine. I considered RB30ET but wasn’t keen on the problems turbo cars have, considered V6 Buick but was told not to bother as the 30ET would yield better results. I thought perhaps V8, LS1 looked like a cool idea until I read about the problems fitting it (I’ve never done a conversion before) and the cost involved. Also looked at Injected 5 Litre, but after a long time of umming and ahhing I finally decided (albeit a little loosely so not 100% sure) to keep the 3 Litre and do a turbo conversion.

Either way, I was going to need some better brakes, so firstly I went about sourcing a disc-brake diff which proved difficult to find. I finally discovered one on trademe, and the seller happened to be rb_inside (Kevin) from CT, so I went and got that off him. He’d already painted it up and put new nolathane bushes in it where the rear of the lower trailing arms bolt on) so big thanks to him for that. (A year later and I still havent put it in :/ )

I then went searching for a brake upgrade. Race Brakes in Mt Eden had the PBR 6-pot front and 4-pot rear complete upgrade kit, but they quoted me $2500 and that was on special.
So I looked for something a bit cheaper, namely a VT upgrade kit for the fronts, and ended up buying a brand new kit (twin-pot VT calipers, police-spec pads, 290mm slotted rotors, braided hoses and new bearings) from a guy called Laurie (cheapaspares/ two brothers performance) in South Auckland.

I’ve painted up the calipers from that kit in Red, (havent put them on yet – I want to get all my parts sorted first before I start working on the car, otherwise when I go to do something I discover that there’s a whole lot more stuff I need).

Then at the beginning of this year I went and bought a VT Brake Master Cyl and VS V6 Booster, got some of the brass flare adaptors from Hopper Stoppers in Oz, and yes, I’m yet to put that stuff on too…)

At the end of January I bought a Calais (decided I wanted to have a Calais project rather than the Berlina), so I sold my daily driver and the Berlina became my daily. (See my other threads for info on the Calais).

So I went about sourcing more parts for the Calais, got new dobi superlow springs, KYB shocks, Nolathane Panhard Rod and sway-bar link kit (big thanks to Jase aka NZ’S VL2DY4). Spent around 500 on new bushes from Holden (not installed yet!). Bought a set of 18” MAK Raves from my mate. I’m sure there’s more but I cant think of it all at the moment.

I wanted to do a manual conversion on the Calais, looked into RB25DET gearbox, looked into MF5, even considered swapping the boxes between the Calais and the Berlina.

In June my flatmate spotted a personalised plate on TM that would suit my car (although it wouldn’t have been my most preferred choice for a plate), but it was $100, and it turned out that it hadn’t even been made, so I was pretty chuffed (sorry I’m not going to reveal it on here – you’ll have to see the car in person)

But finally, after a long long time of research, pricing-up, thinking, more thinking, I decided…………… to let the Calais go. Yes it was a nice car, very straight and tidy, all the Calais goodies worked, but I hated the red interior, and its an auto, I liked the interior colour on my Berlina better, I liked the paint on my Berlina better, and its already a manual. So I decided the money that I could spend on the interior and the manual conversion on the Calais, would be better spent on a turbo conversion for the Berlina. So sadly I decided to sell the Calais, which I sold just over a month ago now.

So after selling that, I went full swing into sourcing turbo bits for the Berlina. Bought a cheap DSR430 turbo, a 600x300x75 intercooler along with a skyline piping kit which I’m going to modify (considered custom made or GKTech etc but decided it would be cheaper to go with the skyline one and modify it to fit).

Also bought an oil catch can, turbo lines/fittings, DSR RB30ET exhaust manifold (it has a DSR wastegate on it already but I scored a brand new 38mm Turbosmart Ultragate of TM for cheap so Im guna use that), new Turbosmart Boost-Tee, vacuum hose, Autometer Boost Gauge.

I was going to use a Nistune, but NZEFI in ChCh said they weren’t to keen on installing the chip for me, as they wouldn’t be able to test it in the car.

So I’m currently in the process of talking to tuners around Auckland about my options, but I think at this stage I’ll be leaning towards a Link, as there are plenty of VL’s in Oz using them and they seem to be fine. (Will also allow me to use a bov which I would like to do – as Im not a fan of the dose sorry guys – the Nistune wouldn’t have let me run a bov properly).

I was hoping to have the turbo conversion done and tuned, and the brakes also, by the 6th November (the opening night of this season’s NightSpeed DragWars at MereMere), but now I have to save up more money for an aftermarket ECU, so that date is out the window.

Which is ok because at our flat the garage is pretty chocka (my flatmate’s in the process of doing a VT supercharged-6 conversion into his VR so there’s stuff everywhere, not enough room for the VL) so I have to wait for dry days (and time) to work on the car.

I pulled off the rear calipers from my new diff last week and had them rebuilt by Just Brakes in Penrose. (don’t know if they needed rebuilding but I thought why not since they’re off the car anyway). So I’m guna hit them with the red paint as well. And try to source some braided hoses for the rears too.

As for the interior, I found some interior bits at Pick-a-Part that I needed as a few of mine were cracked/broken. And all four windows need fixing as the rears sqeal like a mouse on ecstasy and the fronts are as crooked as our government (sorry they’re the first comparisons I could think of :P )

Exterior: I need the trim bit that sits on the rear bumper (right hand side one) as I walked past it and my lanyard from my keys (in my pocket) hooked on to it and snapped a bit off it. The tail-lights are a bit worse for wear, both cracked, ones faded a lot, so I have a set of VK tail-lights from my mate’s wrecked VK (one is a near new TYC, the other is a genuine one but very good condition. So for those I’ll also require a VK garnish for between them (must be in really good condition) because the edges of the VK tail-lights and garnish are black, whereas the VL’s are grey/silver whatever you wanna call it.


Future plans: (in no specific chronological order)

-Braided Rear brake lines
-Replace all the gauges with aftermarket (Autometer) ones.
-Upgrade the fuel system (Bosch 040 intank, 044 external, aftermarket fuel rail with bigger injectors, possibly an aftermarket Adjustable Fuel pressure -reg if I need one) and braided lines for it all, if budget allows.
-Swap the current Monroe shocks with the KYB ones that I bought for the Calais
-Paint the underside of the car, including the trailing arms, put new bushes in (may use the new Holden rubber ones I have or consider putting -Nolathanes in)
-Put a fatter front sway bar in, and use Nolathane Link kits for both the front and the rear
-LSD!!! With 4-pinion 28-spline centre and axles
-A bigger and better turbo of course!
-Front-facing plenum
-I’m really considering using it as a weekend track car (while keeping it a driveable roadworthy streeter), so perhaps modifications for that as well - suspension will be a biggie here, and I wouldn’t mind getting the car a bit lower!
-The gearbox is predictably gonna be the first thing to pack a sad once the turbo conversion is done, so that will need ‘fixing’.
-Pull the motor out and do a complete rebuild and tidy/paint it up, and the engine bay as well


Anyway, enough from me, I’ll try and keep you guys and gals up to date with whats happening with the car.

Cheers
Sam

holy crap that was a lot of writing!

anyway here's some pics:

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here you can see the glitter/flake in the paint

i'll get sum more photos up soon

Sam

Last edited by madrx3boy; 23-10-09 at 20:05. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 24-10-09, 05:28   #2
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good write up man.

2 questions

do you have the part number for the line addapters from Hopper Stoppers?

and how much was the brake kit you brought you got from south auckland?
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Old 24-10-09, 06:47   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNONT2
good write up man.

2 questions

do you have the part number for the line addapters from Hopper Stoppers?

and how much was the brake kit you brought you got from south auckland?
cheers bro
um I don't have those adapters handy at the mo, half my stuffs at my parents place but I'll try and get the P/N's for you today. You could also email hoppers and ask them to organise some for you (thats what I did) and they know straight away what those adapters are, as they must sell a fair few of them.

their email is: hopstop@hoppers.com.au

as for the brake kit, that cost me $1000, may seem like a lot but its pretty good considering people try to sell the hub adaptors alone for $600 plus

at the time I think buying it here in NZ worked out to be only a few dollars more than importing the same kit from Oz, but that may have changed.

check out: http://www.trademe.co.nz/Members/Lis...member=1624822

or txt/call him (his name's Laurie) on 021 151 2212

cheers
Sam
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Old 24-10-09, 07:25   #4
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good run down of what you've done and it's good to see you went the RB30ET route
Lol ask Danny what happens to gearboxes behind 30ets he has lots of experience there


Edit = Now you should become a member !!
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Old 24-10-09, 08:47   #5
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haha sure have lol,4 gearboxs later,thats with 230rwkw tho
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Old 24-10-09, 19:47   #6
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Quote:
I was going to use a Nistune, but NZEFI in ChCh said they weren’t to keen on installing the chip for me, as they wouldn’t be able to test it in the car.
Dont use NZEFI ...... 5 guys I know well who had there car engines beefed up and tuned there 1 R32 GTR 2 S14 silvias a laurel and a VL turbo (25det) were stollen roughly 2-3 weeks after having the car back from there all in similar circumstances.....where you would have to know the car was there and you would need a key to get them.....2 of the cars being in back sections around the back of the house beside bedroom windows....both being carefully pushed out the driveways......the police are investigating after I put forward what I linked together.... this is all of last week where I worked out something in common with the thefts when my mate josh's S14 silvia was pinched last sunday night....400hp was a rocket as I went for a blat when he got it home....sleeper...factory rims and exterior and hidden cooler..nothing flash....you would have to know what was under the bonnet to want to steal it and the fact being that it hadnt been into town yet to show off. will keep you posted if there is any breakthrough....alot of nice cars have been going missing and never seen again recently in chch
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Old 25-10-09, 11:04   #7
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Sam try holden haven in Hams, there is a 30mm front swaybar for $100
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Old 27-10-09, 07:39   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UNONT2
do you have the part number for the line addapters from Hopper Stoppers?
Hey Danny, sorry I didnt get back to you on Sat, but I had a look at those adapters, couldn't find a part number with them. I think I may possibly have the invoice somewhere so I'll try and have a look for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SIKVLT
good run down of what you've done and it's good to see you went the RB30ET route
Lol ask Danny what happens to gearboxes behind 30ets he has lots of experience there


Edit = Now you should become a member !!
Yea I still would like to go for the rb25det one as i don't wanna bother wasting money on anything else (like the mf5). but i'll just have to see how my finances go lol. oh and yea, i should become a member, gotta lotta s**t to sort out atm but that'll go on the list somewhere

Quote:
Originally Posted by NZ VL com
Sam try holden haven in Hams, there is a 30mm front swaybar for $100
oh yup will do, cheers Dave. is it an adjustable one? coz i'm kinda wanting an adjustable front one so I can play around with the handling a bit
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Old 27-10-09, 14:31   #9
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its ok man,i emailed them,cheers
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Old 27-10-09, 14:45   #10
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negative
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Old 28-10-09, 20:41   #11
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negative
oh rite, i'm more after an adjustable one but I'll keep it in mind.

Update: painted up my rear brakes on the long weekend, sun was out which was good.







they look better in person, more red, less orangey. my vt front ones are the same, still gotta get photos of them tho. and cure the whole lot properly
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Old 11-11-09, 13:03   #12
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Now you should become a member !!
Done! I'll upsize my avatar when I get home from work
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Old 11-11-09, 15:52   #13
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good stuf,the members section is the best section man,you can waste hours upon hours in there
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Old 21-12-09, 09:19   #14
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bit of an update, got most of the bits for my fuel system sorted -brand new bosch 040 intank pump, 044 external, custom 4L surge tank, billet fuel rail, siemens 550cc injectors. oh and bling bling braided lines and fittings on the way as we speak.

Pulled the interior out a few weeks back just to paint up the floor/back seats/boot. Boot is being prepared for the surge tank (was told by the cert guy that I have to seal the boot off completely from the rest of the cabin), so I'm getting a family friend to weld up all the holes for me, then I can paint the boot (black ) and mount the surge tank and start putting my new fuel lines and pumps in.

Also been busy underneath the dash, ripped out all the heater/fan/ducting bits so there's heaps of room there now (joined the 2 heater hoses together). I have a new JBL amp to go where the heater core was, running the new JBL 4" speakers I put in the dash.

Dad and I Fully re-did the radio wiring (as it was a bit of a mess, mainly due to my previous 10-min job of twisting and taping them together), now its all neatly soldered. Just need to make up a plate to mount the amp on then that can go in too.

Also currently in the process of putting in a 4-gauge cable running to the back for a rear amp (to run my 6x9s on the parcel shelf ) and an 8-guage one running straight to my fuel pumps (switched by relays). I'm trying to keep it as neat as I can with the tools etc that I have available, so I'm not rushing it, even tho its simple stuff.

I'm glad its holidays soon! I'll be spending a lot of time working on the beast!

I'll try and get some pictures up soon

Sam
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Old 21-12-09, 14:45   #15
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Great stuff hope to see the end result!
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Old 21-12-09, 15:16   #16
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good stuff man,might come up during the break and check it out
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Old 21-12-09, 15:22   #17
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Good keep going man deadline is creeping up haha
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Old 21-12-09, 19:17   #18
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cheers for the comments guys, it definitely wont be a show car but I don't care, i'll just be happy once it's boosted
and yea your welcome to come and have a look at it and see the (slow!) progress, if ya want. bring your own VL too so I can check it out!

Sam
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Old 22-12-09, 14:09   #19
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yeah man no problem,whats your number
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Old 22-12-09, 16:13   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madrx3boy
cheers for the comments guys, it definitely wont be a show car but I don't care, i'll just be happy once it's boosted
and yea your welcome to come and have a look at it and see the (slow!) progress, if ya want. bring your own VL too so I can check it out!

Sam
it sounds like its gana be a very nice car man . id come see the progress and bring my vl but ahh yeah my car doesnt go just yet
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Old 22-12-09, 16:20   #21
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yeah man no problem,whats your number
021 108 1485 . jst give me a cuple days notice if any of you plan to come, jst to make sure I'll be home. I should be tho, I havent planned to go away, just workin on the VL

Quote:
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it sounds like its gana be a very nice car man . id come see the progress and bring my vl but ahh yeah my car doesnt go just yet
cheers Hayden. ah well, VL or not, your welcome to come and have a look anyway ae

Last edited by madrx3boy; 22-12-09 at 16:21. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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Old 22-12-09, 18:51   #22
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i wana look toooo ! i should only be down the road LOL
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Old 29-12-09, 17:21   #23
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Been busy painting underneath the car for the last few days (I spent Christmas day under the car how stupid does that sound lol). It's all in Satin black, It's far from done tho, need to get into all the wee gaps with a small brush, gotta paint the driveshaft (satin black), trailing arms (gloss black), brake and fuel lines in aluminum colour, same for the exhaust heat shields, and I'll also touch up all the nuts/bolts in the same aluminium paint once everythings back together.







Thats the Calais disc brake diff which I bought off Kevin (rb_inside), he had already painted it up, so I don't have to worry about that.

Getting new rubber bushings pressed into all my trailing arms and the 2 diff ones as well tomorrow. those nolathane's you see in the diff were already in there, brand new, but I spoke to the suspension guys (the ones who will be doing the bushes) and they said just take them out and put the new rubber ones in, the nolathanes won't last long.

So I'm hoping to have the diff (along with the rear brakes) in on Thursday (providing we have dry weather so I can finish the painting).
and then hopefully by the end of the week I'll have the new front brakes in, and the VT master/VT booster.

Oh and the KYB's I bought for my Calais, I'll be putting them in this week too, and I can see what difference they make from the Monroe's.
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Old 03-01-10, 14:19   #24
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Hey guys, this is what I've been working on this past week:











I've pretty much finished painting underneath the car, main part of the floor is done in satin black, i've done the exhaust shields in silver and the brake/fuel lines in silver as well. All the bolts underneath (shocks,trailing arms, diff, panhard rod, driveshaft) are going to be silver as well. Still tossing up weather to paint the driveshaft now or wait till its out of the car at some stage.

Had the new bushes pressed into the trailing arms, so I've painted them gloss black. The suspension shop snapped one of their bolts while trying to get the bushes into the diff, just before the long weekend, so I have to wait till tuesday till I get it back. Which works out fine as the trailing arms will need a few days to cure anyway.

Also while everything was drying, Dad and I installed the VT master cylinder and VS booster, wasn't too hard a job just a few things I came across which were a bit different to what it says in the thread on it. (have a look at the thread "how to adapt the vt master to early commodores" to see what I came across).

But it looks a treat tho, the VS plastic booster is a lot neatier than the rust paint-peeling steel one that used to be there.

Also painted the rearwheel arches in gloss black, as well as the whole boot in the same colour. It came out really good considering it was just out of a can (well a lot of cans actually). The whole of the underside of the car I did with a brush simply because I find it easier to control where the paint goes, and you can't hold a can upside down for very long, and it doesn't need to look perfect anyway. The wheel arches and boot I did straight from cans though.

it's no way near show standard, but I'm pretty happy with how the painting's turned out.

So next week the diff will go in, and my front brakes (unable to jack the front of the car up with the diff out as the front sits too low when the rear is on stands.

also next week i'm getting that box made for the surge tank (had the design approved by an LVVTA certifier). Hopefully I have time to start on my fuel pumps and lines before the 11th (when I go back to work), but I can take my time on it for the next couple of weeks just as an after-work thing, I'm taking another week off at the end of Jan, and I'll get my intercooler piping done and the exhaust made up, and then I will be saving hard to try and get the ecu and tune by end of Feb! It's getting there lads!
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Old 03-01-10, 16:38   #25
UNONT2
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Join Date: 22-04-07
Location: NZ, TeKauwhata
Car: 1987 Maroon Over Silver VLCT,VH SL/X Wagon(304 Turbo V8 Build)
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nice work man,what ecu?
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