Thursday, January 28, 2010

Preparation: Johns shop pr0n

I'm married to a pretty kick ass wife who has this uncle who fixes VW's. He's been doing it for a while, he's knows his merde. We will probably be working on the engine together just so I can do this without him.

I had to stop by his place for lunch to order parts of the head rebuild, and since I had my camera, I figured that I would take some pictures of his work.

Warning: Engine porn below.

This is what he does with old parts. Some of them go to get remachined, most of them go to get recycled.

This is the sign of a good mechanic. Notice that there are no oil stains on those boxes. All those parts are clean, and ready for use. If they weren't they would be in the other pile.

This Ghia was getting a new set of tie rods put in.

This engine was a restored one for a customer. Note the decals on the fan shroud.

Caution: some assembly required

This beauty is a porsche engine in development.

Most engines come in looking like this, I'm pretty sure that mine will.

Completed - now it just needs with acoutrements.

I'll take pictures of mine during disassembly. I just hoping that we can get it done before superbowl weekend. Otherwise, I'll be taking the motorcycle.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When it rains...

... in pours. In my case, the trickle of minor problems escalated to a rush of major ones. In defense of the car, the transmission is 20 years old, and the engine is 12 years old. There are some things that are just going to need replacing.

My last engine pull was to replace the clutch which had shattered on me. While putting everything back in, I found to root cause - the arm that the throw out bearing sits on has been gouged severely. Here's an old vs new pic for reference:

So, the engine comes out again, the mounting parts for the throw out bearing get tapped out painfully, the new parts go on, and now I have a perfectly working car... right? (You know the answer to that rhetorical question.)

I adjusted the valves once more before putting the engine back in - easy to do while its out. The Number 1 exhaust valve (all the way in the back on the passenger side) is unable to be adjusted. The adjustment screw is fully backed out, and the clearance is about .001 when it needs to be about .006.

Bottom line - the exhaust valve is sinking into the head. Not good. So sometime soon, the engine is coming out once more, and I'm redoing the heads. I'll be at my mechanics place on Saturday working on it I suspect.

But hey, my exhaust system looks pretty nice.

So does the bell housing of my transmission.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I'm huge in Germany

OK, not me. My bus. Last week I got a call from a friend who pointed me to a craigslist ad that stated "looking for a hippy bus" for a TV show. Several phone calls later, I'm driving to Haight street and parking in front of Booksmith so this guy can do an absolutely horrible hippie impression while climbing in and out of my bus.

The camera crew had more fun looking at the engine and marveling at the wonders of German engineering.

Joe showed up in the late afternoon to hang out, his bus got in the picture too.

If anyone actually sees this show, please send me a link - it probably won't be out for 6 months.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Clutch Conclusion

I'm up and running again. Not in enough time to make the Buses by the Bridge show, but at least I have dry wheels in wet weather.

I've had a problem with the clutch for a while -a slight chatter between each shift. After pulling the engine, I found the problem. The swing arm that holds the throw out bearing has a slight depression in it that keeps the throw out bearing from sitting flat on contact with the pressure plate. For the moment, I'm living with it, but I'll probably replace it this weekend.

While the engine was out, I installed a stock exhaust system that I have coated:

And I found the source of the awful oil smell - the driver side heat exchanger had holes in it. That got replaced too.

And of course when you pull and engine and dismantle tin and parts, you wipe off all the oil you can.

Some Notes:
The Stock exhaust is so much quieter. Unnervingly quiet - so now I hear road noise that I haven't heard before and wonder if parts need replacing or if it has always sounded like that.

I ceramic coated the exhaust. If it extends the life of the exhaust system by three years, it will have paid for itself. Check with me in three years.

This was the first engine pull I did alone in a long time. Oddly - not that difficult if you have a proper jack on the transmission to help with alignment.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Clutch Catastrophe

I'm driving home from lunch yesterday when my clutch wouldn't engage. The pedal went down and a violent chatter was heard and the gear shift refused to move.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Close eyes and open them slowly. Step one. Get home.

You can drive a VW without a clutch, but it takes a certain amount of artful listening and feeling. The engine speed has to line up with the transmission rotation while the car is moving, and getting the car moving is the most difficult part.

So I carefully drove home, backed into the garage, and removed the engine. The pressure plate ring is not supposed to look like this, nor is it supposed to be removed from the pressure plate.

Good thing I have a spare Clutch/pressure plate/throw out bearing. Maybe it's time to put on the new exhaust while I'm at it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 Buscapades

It's been a while since my last post. To be honest, I haven't been doing much other than ordering parts, and lots of work related stuff, so camping and driving have been out.

Every year I tend to do a round up of the previous year, so here's last years high and low lights:
-Bus City. Brett really did a nice job on what will probably a growing and expanding event.
-The Finnon lake campouts - two this year, both fun, both worth the drive up that road.
-Trainspotting. Fun group, fun drive, excellent place to have a beer even if you are dismayed about your fuel pump.
-The Lantern craze. It appears that everyone in the Camper Family is changing from Coleman lanterns to Dietz style oil lanterns. Nothing bad can be said about that.
-My Broken shock mount. That thing drove me nuts for months. It's all better now.
-Not enough time for more camping. This year I plan on fixing that.

Happy New year.

Introducing, The Squirrel

I have another VW. I know it's a sickness. I'm cutting and pasting the post that I put on the samba: The Back story: My grandpare...