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Basket Case Fuel System: VR 5litre Calais project car (help!)


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#1 LXCHEV

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 02:59 PM

I have picked up a VR 5 litre V8 Calais project car. She’s a little rough around the edges and not currently running – but has plenty of good bits and lots of potential. I’m keen to rescue this one and bring her back to life. The previous owner passed away suddenly (this was their pride and joy), so all the history of upgrades has been lost but I’m slowly piecing things back together.

 

It’s currently a dual-fuel car, but I think I’ll remove the LPG gear and put it back to straight petrol.

 

Attached File  Calais.jpg   145.99K   5 downloads

 

So to start with - I need some advice to sort out the fuel system. It seems the previous owner had opted to do away with the factory stuff and move to an adjustable reg, custom rails, braided lines etc.

 

Here’s what I’m looking at - the car came with 2 sets of fuel rails, 2 sets of different injectors and multiple regulators:

 

Attached File  01.jpg   132.7K   4 downloads

 

Part 1 - Fuel Rails:

 

Set 1 - What I believe are the stock standard rails, with square bosses.

Set 2 - Modified & polished with A/N fittings. Circular bosses. They actually look pretty schmick.

 

I can see no functional differences between the 2 (other than square versus circular bosses, but each has appropriate clips), so should be fine to run with either set.

 

Pros and cons;

Standard rails means I can use the factory fuel pressure reg & damper and put everything back to factory (nice and neat). Amongst the spare parts I found 2 factory Bosch regs and a factory Bosch damper. Condition is unknown!

 

Modified rails means I can use much nicer A/N fittings/hoses (no more dirty old hose clamps). Plus they look fantastic. But then I’d need to run an aftermarket fuel pressure reg, gauge and custom plumbing. On the note of reg's: I found 2 aftermarket regs in the spare parts, both look used – and why are there 2? Did one die? They don’t look high-end, so are possibly cheap and nasty. Don’t think I’d trust using either of them.

 

First 3 photos - custom setup:

 

Attached File  02.jpg   151.05K   4 downloads

 

Attached File  03.jpg   120.45K   3 downloads

 

Attached File  04.jpg   100.19K   3 downloads

 

Next up - back to factory setup?

 

Attached File  05.jpg   91.7K   2 downloads

 

The difference between the 2 rails:

 

Attached File  06.jpg   99.87K   2 downloads



#2 LXCHEV

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 03:12 PM

Part 2 - Fuel Injectors:

 

Set 1 – Bosch ‘280 150 960’

From looking at my Bosch catalogues and researching the web, these are the correct factory injectors for the V8’s (VN, VP, VR, VS). Also common across many of the V6 models.

 

Set 2 – Bosch ‘280 150 973’

These are still an EV1 style injector, but were found on the VT series 1 V8’s, and also VS V6.

 

From what I’ve been able to find, the specs between the 960s and the 973s are very similar (close enough to call them like-for-like really). The 973’s seem to have just a fraction higher flow rate, and slightly lower resistance (ohm rating). This is based upon 3 bar (43.5PSI) operating pressure.

 

I have noted a functional difference between the 2 sets. The 960’s (yellow pintle caps) – sit about 3 or 4mm further into the port, so are less shielded from the combustion chamber. No other physical differences.

 

Comparing the 2 sets though – the 960’s are much filthier and look very used. They’ve been stamped, so seem to show a previous history of cleaning etc. The 973’s look a fair bit cleaner.

 

Regardless, once I select a set, I intend to have them professionally cleaned in an ultrasonic machine. Just want to make the right selection so I do this once and do it right.

 

Side-by-side:

 

Attached File  07.jpg   93.7K   1 downloads

 

This next shot shows the slight height difference (yellow caps are the older 960s)

 

Attached File  08.jpg   64.81K   1 downloads

 

Next pics show both styles mocked up positions in the intake port. I've actually read that retracting them up aids in longevity (protecting them from getting filthy and blocked up etc):

 

Attached File  09.jpg   115.48K   1 downloads

 

Attached File  10.jpg   88.74K   1 downloads

 

Attached File  11.jpg   84.24K   1 downloads

 

Keen to hear your thoughts, but I'm leaning towards using the later 973's (VT). Based on the specs, would they perform pretty much like-for-like with the factory ECU?



#3 LXCHEV

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 03:19 PM

And finally - I also found an injector re-co kit in the spare parts. Are there "good quality" and "bad quality" kits? The receipt shows it cost $28 from a company called Autolink Online Parts Store about 5 years ago. I figure I may as well use it once I pick which set to go with.

 

Attached File  12.jpg   93.08K   2 downloads

 

Attached File  13.jpg   172.26K   2 downloads

 

So that's where I'm currently at. Would love to hear any advice on either rails or injectors.

 



#4 76lxhatch

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 03:40 PM

As long as you don't have a stupid big fuel pump system the factory reg will flow enough to give you plenty of control down to very low fuel delivery volume, and in my eyes is a lot neater. Obviously its not adjustable but as you say the cheapies are not really a good option either, and its easy enough to tune at the ECU end (plus all the injectors you're looking at suit the 3 bar reg anyway). Personally I'm not a big fan of the way AN fittings look especially in red and blue.

 

The later 4-hole injectors give a nicer spray pattern than the original single pintle style ones too. There's not a lot of head room with the 19lb injectors if you're planning on stroking or significant mods that will require more fuel though. Having the correct dead time/opening time data in the tune will help to get the idle and off-idle just right. Cleaning (or just checking and matching flow) can make a big difference to injector performance overall.



#5 LXCHEV

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 04:33 PM

Both sets of injectors shown above (the 960s and the 973s) are 4 hole. It's just the pintle cap size that appears to be different.

 

I don't have any plans on stroking or chasing huge power with this car. It's got brand new extractors, high flow cat, and new exhaust with a tricked up auto - that's probably as far as I'll go with the mods. Hopefully just a little bump up from factory power levels to make it a tad more lively. If I can retain the factory fuel pump I'll be rapt (assuming the car is fitted with the factory style pump - I'll find out shortly when the tank comes out for a clean).



#6 rexy

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 09:19 PM

Is it an injected LPG car?

If so I highly recommend keeping the setup. 
 

I had an injected LPG setup on my old VY SS with a donut tank in the wheel well. It was fantastic. Couldn’t tell any performance difference between the two fuels and had the running costs of a corolla.



#7 LXCHEV

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Posted 05 October 2020 - 10:40 PM

Sadly no - old school style lpg.

#8 76lxhatch

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 06:47 AM

I guess there are four holes buried deep in there if you look close, I should have said larger four hole style; not sure when they changed, but probably find that both of your sets are early style anyway as they are still the large solenoid body.

https://pcmhacking.n...php?f=31&t=1230

There may be differences in opening times but probably minimal and you could get the right figures from factory tunes if they are all Holden fitted, they were probably considered OEM superseded parts anyway. Having said that the best set may simply be the ones that work the best, it may be worth rigging up a fuel pump and rail with a 12V supply to check how they look, sometimes they can be near impossible to clean out if they've been sitting too long.

 

The factory fuel pump will be fine if its in good condition. They do tend to get full of crud with our crappy fuel these days and the fact that a lot of people constantly run with very little fuel in the tank so definitely test it first. The Walbro 255 in-tank is a relatively easy replacement (they kind-of fit straight on) if its no good and you want some extra overhead and still works fine with the factory regulator. It doesn't appear to have the long range fuel tank looking at your first photo, but if it does the in-tank pump will be low pressure and it will have an external high pressure pump.

 

Also the second factory regulator-looking thing is a pulse damper and is installed on the high pressure side, keep this especially if using the factory pump.

 

The shiny fuel rails and regulators may have been just for looks but could also indicate that someone was chasing a problem, personally I'd prefer the factory components but there may be a fault? Setting everything up on the bench might be a good idea to test and make sure it all works.



#9 Statler

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 07:22 AM

Bench test the injectors . Axiter has some good info in his threads on this. 

It doesn't matter which set of injectors you run with or even if they are mixed . If you get a set that don't leak then just change the top / bottom O-rings. Use a little rubber grease.

 

I'm guessing that the PO was chasing a fault. There really isn't any advantage in using aftermarket fuel rails. 

 

If you decide to use the bling , its easy to weld on AN fittings to the stock rails. 

 

2 regulators ? Maybe 1 of them is low flow & unsuitable ? I would plumb in a pressure gauge anyway . It will save a bunch of head scratching later on. 

 

The fuel tank is plastic so cleaning it won't be hard. 

 

I would be fitting the stock OEM parts. 



#10 76lxhatch

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 08:03 AM

I wouldn't mix different part number injectors, they might have different characteristics which would result in different fuel delivery at very short opening times



#11 LXCHEV

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 11:08 AM

Excellent info and suggestions - thanks.

 

I'm definitely suspicious with regards to the original owner chasing problems here too - exactly why I want to settle on a plan, and then clean/check/test and ensure everything is working as it should be up front. The test-bench idea is excellent.

 

Having considered all this, I'm going to follow my gut instinct and stick with the OEM stuff - it seems unanimous! Original rails, reg, damper, pump. Injector choice is still up in the air, pending test results. But I will stick with a matched set.

 

That PCM Hacking link shared above was one of the sites I researched earlier - and indicates both sets of injectors in question here are near identical. As mentioned above, I think they are more or less an OEM superseded part.

 

Time to get the tank and pump out next and see what's buried within.... to be continued.



#12 gtrboyy

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 02:10 PM

When dealing with unfinished projects like that just go back to standard parts...non-standard junk parts or fake branded crap will be the issue.

 

Then when it's all up & running do nice basic mods like memcal tune,twin cats,diff gears,mace airbox & auto mods etc..then leave it alone.

 

Been buying efi parts off Dr Terry/Bebco & memcal tunes from pcmhacking peeps or [email protected] Ace Performance Tuning contacted through FB

 

Few banana nutters left on justcommodores,aussiev8 & pcmhacking forums.



#13 LXCHEV

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 02:58 PM

Awesome!



#14 gtrfreak

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 04:31 PM

Great to see some more plastic bumper projects on this site :)



#15 yel327

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 05:39 PM

I know time has marched on but it amazes me when people are “restoring” or at least treasuring and fixing these things. To me they are still crap to get rid of once you’ve stolen their engine! The VP SS I stripped for the engine for my Overlander was a good car, and that was just over 10 years ago. I know where there is a faded but good auto VN SS that I’ve been planning to get hold of and raid for it’s engine and box too.

#16 gtrfreak

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 06:35 PM

I know time has marched on but it amazes me when people are “restoring” or at least treasuring and fixing these things. To me they are still crap to get rid of once you’ve stolen their engine! The VP SS I stripped for the engine for my Overlander was a good car, and that was just over 10 years ago. I know where there is a faded but good auto VN SS that I’ve been planning to get hold of and raid for it’s engine and box too.

 

 

Even more amazing is anyone that actually wants the engine and box.!! 

 

Ill grab the rolling shell when you get the VN SS please :)



#17 LXCHEV

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Posted 06 October 2020 - 09:57 PM

Yeah I agree. This era of Commodore is entering an interesting phase. Obviously 6 cylinder cars are worth nothing, but there is still a level of interest for the V8’s. Potentially a growing interest even.

Will they ever be worth anything decent? Who knows. Probably only the really sleek examples. Visually, I actually rate them - just enough old school without the modern looks.

For me personally, I just want a daily driver that sounds decent and drives nice. I drove Torana’s as daily’s for a long time, so mid 90’s Commodores feel like luxury to me!

#18 Statler

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Posted 07 October 2020 - 08:46 AM

I wouldn't mix different part number injectors, they might have different characteristics which would result in different fuel delivery at very short opening times

Sometimes there is no choice .

 

1 of my injectors failed the cleaning process . I wasn't going to go buy another set so i sourced a single & had it cleaned . The matching part # was NLA & superceeded by another . 



#19 gtrboyy

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 02:28 AM

This is my vp ute bitsa...originally v6 t5 benchseat now vs 304/4l60e driveline...baby cam,shiftkit,ace memcal etc...still got to fit 3k stally,transcooler,3.45 or 4.11 diff gears + lsd...rarely see ugly duckling model on road nowadays.

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#20 yel327

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 06:12 AM

Hardly ever. There is a black manual VP SS rotting away less than a km from me and a VP ute I know of, apart from that only see them in wreckers. I’ve tried to buy the VP SS for the engine but it just sits.

#21 LXCHEV

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Posted 08 October 2020 - 02:46 PM

Tidy looking Ute.

 

It's sad to hear that cars such as that SS are being left to rot away. Surely an SS manual wouldn't be hard to still get some coin for. It makes you wonder why they won't move them on.

 

Spotted an absolutely mint VS sedan out today with Simmons on it. Good wheels really bring these models to life. Need to pull my finger out and get this ugly duckling running, just keep getting distracted with too many other side projects.



#22 hatchssv8

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 10:37 AM

those 'old' rails arent bad....only need a tickle to get them to bling status

 

before and after - 

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#23 LXCHEV

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Posted 09 October 2020 - 08:59 PM

That looks magic. I’m definitely planning to have a go at polishing mine after they’ve had a good clean first.

Are yours machine polished or just elbow grease?

#24 hatchssv8

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Posted 12 October 2020 - 07:02 AM

Just elbow grease, if you have access to a buffing wheel you should be able to get them to a mirror finish



#25 LXCHEV

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Posted 13 October 2020 - 09:30 AM

Excellent - a buffing wheel is on my wish list.






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