Wednesday, 14 February 2018

9. Karmann Ghia Restoration - Bodywork Begins

I'm under no illusions how bad the bodywork is on my 1971 Karmann Ghia Convertible. It's Bad!  I mentioned, in a previous blog, that the car has now been transported to my friends workshop (Unit Two Services at Ilkeston, Derbyshire), and we have at last started the slow and laborious work of trying to make a concours car out of a rusty wreck.

These, so far, are the new panels that I have bought. From the top:
1. Bottom of wheel well
2. Left headlamp surround
3. Left headlamp bowl
4. Right headlamp surround
5. Right headlamp bowl
6. Right front floor pan
7. Left replacement sill
8. Left Rear wing front lower section
9. Right replacement sill
10. Right Rear wing front lower section
11. Left rear wheel arch
12. Left Rear wing back lower section
13. Engine tray left panel
14. Engine tray right panel
15. Engine tray rear panel
16. Rear valance.

As you can see it's quite a list and I think there will be more. The next job is to offer each new piece into place and mark around it with a felt tip pen. This shows where the body has got to be cut. It is then a case of sanding away all of the paint and filler (which is considerable) until bare metal is revealed. This is a very lengthy process and fills the workshop full of clouds of dust.

This sanding process has revealed the true extent of the accident damage that this car has received with a previous owner. If you look carefully at this picture of the left rear wing, you can see two rows of holes running along the body. This is where the bodywork has been pulled out with a slide hammer, to try and pull it back into place. Every one of these holes will need to be welded up, sanded and beaten back into place.

You may also notice how high up the wing I have had to sand, a long way from the new panel felt tip lines. This is because of the amount of filler that was used in order to try and get this panel back into shape.If you look at the bottom left of the picture you can see the thick filler still on the part that's got to be cut out.

The next job was to cut the headlight bowls out so that Colin could get his arm inside the front wing to start panel beating the dozens of dents that were hiding under the paint.
So here is Colin hard at work panel beating the wing back to the shape it really should be.

And here is a good comparison. The right section of the wing is now beaten and the left front section is yet to be done. This takes a very long time and requires skills way above my level.

The next and biggest problem is the sills. Because this car is a convertible, there is no strength provided by a steel roof. Consequently the sill have internal strengthening to stop the car sagging in the middle. On my car the sills are rotten so when I lift the car on the hoist the door jams widen and when I put it back on its wheels they close up again. Before we can cut the old sills away, the car must jacked up at different heights on all four corners until the door jams are perfect. The doors then had to be removed and bracing fitted to hold that position whilst we cut the rotten sills away. This was done by making steel plates to bolt onto the door hinge mountings and the seat belt mountings and then welding 6 heavy metal tubes to the plates in a criss-cross pattern.

 Now, at last, we can cut away the sill and the bottom quarter panel and take a first look at the true extent of the damage. And it's not good. The long horizontal plate that you can see with holes along it is the strengthening plate, that should run from wheel arch to wheel arch. As you can see it has rotted away. Also virtually totally missing is the back of the heater tunnel box section, which also adds strength. All of this will have to be fabricated from new steel and welded in place before I attempt to remove the body from the chassis.

Finally, we were just looking at the back of the car and Colin noticed that the left rear light appeared to be on a slant, tucking in at the bottom. Investigation revealed that the accident had pushed the back of the car in and forward and this had pulled the bottom of the rear left wing inwards. To prove this we cut the rear engine tray and rear valance in half. It immediately sprung outward at the bottom and the rear light was now vertical. It's a good job that we are replacing those rear panels anyway.

So that's where we are. The car is fully braced and the level of work required is still growing.

More next time as the car goes under the cutter for major surgery.

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Copyright 14.02.18 all rights reserved.

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Monday, 1 January 2018

8. Karmann Ghia Restoration - Engine Rebuild Part 3

Well it's time for the final bits and bobs to go onto the engine for my 1971 Karmann Ghia convertible restoration. As I mentioned earlier in the blog, this is a "dry build", so quite a lot of the items fitted will have to come off again before the engine is fitted in the car. Consequently some things have been fitted without gaskets and in some cases not all of the fixings. Just sufficient to be sure that everything will fit when the time comes. This has turned out to be very wise, particularly with regard to the chrome engine tinware. I don't think that there has been a single panel that has not needed modification and I repeat my warning; "If you are considering fitting this replacement chrome tinware (and it's not chrome, it's thin polished stainless steel) which does look beautiful, then be prepared for lots of extra work.

So here's the next, and very typical, example. I decided to try fitting the rear engine tray. Everything lined up on the right hand side, but the left side overlapped the exhaust flange, as you can see in the picture. Now, as I am fitting twin carburettors, I don't actually need these inlet manifold flanges, but I do need to blank them off and I can't do that and make a gas tight seal with the tinware where it is.

So I marked the tray, with a chinagraph pencil, where it needed to be cut and removed the tray again and set about it with a small cutting disc on the Dremel. I also took a small amount off the right side too, just to give it a bit of clearance. I then had to finish and re-polish the edges, but it now fits and I could look at making some nice blanking plates for the flanges.

So I made two cardboard templates, one for each side, and then  found some thick aluminium to make the plates out of. These have to be quite thick in order that they don't distort when tightened down to make a gas tight seal.

I then marked out the aluminium using the templates and cut them out. By placing the cardboard templates over the flanges, I could poke a spike through the templates to mark the correct position of the fixing holes. These positions could then be transferred to the blanking plates to allow them to be drilled, with a 6mm drill, for the fixing bolts.

All that was left then was to polish the blanking plates and fix them in place using the normal VW gaskets underneath to make a good seal and tighten down the bolts nice and tight.

So now it was time to take a look at the heater pipes. These are the two large flexible hoses that come from fan housing and pass down through the large holes in the rear engine tray and connect to the two heat exchange pods that are mounted on cylinder 2 and 4 exhaust pipes and these in turn connect to the heater boxes. Well they don't!!! Firstly the heat exchange pods are missing on the sports exhaust. So I thought that I could simply connect the hoses from the fan housing, down through the two holes in the rear engine tray and connect them directly to the heater boxes.

So I stupidly set about making two adaptor tubes to fit in the heater boxes, for the hoses to fit on to. They fit into the heater boxes well, but I then discovered that there was no way that I could get a hose on to them as they are directly below the rear exhaust pipes. So they had to be scrapped. My next idea was to remove the pods from my original silencer and fit them around the new exhaust pipes. Getting them off the old exhaust wasn't too difficult, however when it came to offering them up to the new exhaust I found that the sports exhaust pipes are at severely different angles from the original exhaust and this stops the pods lining up with the heater box and the holes on the engine tray. Failure number two!!
 So finally I decided to give my friend, Colin, a call at "Unit Two Services" (Formally Gladex) in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. He came and had I look and said that what I need are "Dairy Tubes". I had no idea what he meant, but apparently they are tubes bent at right angles that can  be cut and welded together to fit around difficult bends. He said he would order some for me and give me a call when he can fit them. So that part of the build is now on hold.

I then turned my attention to the other end of the exhaust/heater system and decided to fit the heater levers. These open flaps inside the heater box and allow warm air to pass to the inside of the car. After greasing the pivot points I proceeded to fit the levers, not realising that there was a left and a right. I had looked at the levers and at first glance they looked identical, but I missed one small hole. That is the hole that the return spring fits through and must be to the flywheel side. Needless to say I didn't spot this until it came to fitting the springs and I had them the wrong way around. So they had to come off again and swap sides.

The next bit is no surprise. I hooked the return spring onto the lever and then found that there was no hole in the tinware to hook the other end. I checked on the original tinware and found where the holes should be and then had to drill the new ones to suit. Not a big job but yet another missing detail on the replacement tinware.

Now for an exciting bit. I decided to try dry fitting the twin carburettors. These fit remarkably easy, straight on top of the inlet manifolds with mounting plates on top to support the actuating bar that runs between the two. This bar was the only thing that needed modification and I had to shorten it by about 50mm (2") for it to fit nicely between the two carburettors. I must admit that they have made a huge difference to the look of the whole engine.

So now just some final bits. Time to fit the HT coil. Now normally the HT coil bolts to two captive nuts mounted on the fan housing behind the distributor. Well firstly it can't go quite as high as normal or it will hit the Carburettor actuating bar and secondly (you know what's coming) the new tinware has not got any captive nuts in it anyway. Obviously I could simply drill the fan housing and fix the HT coil in place with two self tapping screws. But I didn't think that self tappers were a good idea on a vibrating engine and felt that over time they may come loose. I needed captive nuts, but you can't get to the other side of the fan housing front plate to fix them. So once again I went to see my friend Colin and low and behold he had a special tool for fitting "Hank Bushes" These are like threaded "Pop Rivets" and can be inserted from one side of a piece of metal, just like a Pop Rivet, and then compressed with this tool to fix them in place. Well I borrowed it and it worked fantastic first time. So with two 6mm thread Hank Bushes in place I could now fit the HT coil.

The old HT coil was in good working order but like everything else, pretty grotty. It had been hand painted with blue paint and the fixing bracket was rusty. Now I had already bought a polished stainless tubular trim plate to fit around the coil and a nice new chrome mounting bracket, but the coil itself posed a problem. As it mounts upside down, you would be able to see the old painted bottom sticking through the stainless sleeve. I've polished a few HT coils on motorbikes before and they have always been made of aluminium. But this one was steel and if I polish it, it will rust. So my first thought was to repaint it. But as I started to clean it another thought hit me. If I polish it to a mirror finish then I could spray it with clear lacquer and it would look like chrome. So that's what I did. The final bit was to fit the polished stainless tubular trim plate over the coil, but when I offered it in place it was too long and stuck out well beyond the coil body. So now I had to figure a way of cutting about 10mm off one end of this trim plate without distorting, squashing or damaging it. Well using any kind of tin snips or nibbling tool was bound to damage the shape of this tube as it is less than 1mm thick. So I marked it with a chinagraph pencil and then very carefully set about it with a miniature cutting disc on the Dremel. This was reasonably successful but did not leave a totally flat edge, but a few seconds on the belt linisher put that right, then a quick re-polish and on with it. And I think the result is really pleasing.

Now for the fuel pipes and the oil breather pipe. I was trying to figure out what to do with the oil breather pipe, which would normally go from at side of the filler cap to the old VW air filter. As I no longer have a standard air filter, where could I take it? My first thought was to make an oil "catcher" tank and fit it in the engine compartment, and then I came across this picture on the Internet and saw this brilliant solution. This person has taken the hose and dropped it into the top of the air filter directly above the number two cylinder venturi. I immediately thought that this is the answer.

I also noticed that he had used braided hose and I've used this before on my motorcycles and really like the look. So I bought a selection of braided hose and found a suitable right angle connector for the top of the air filter from a local pneumatics store. and set about fitting them and what a nice result.

Well the final thing to fit is the HT leads. I made the mistake of buying a set of blue leads (because the car is going to be blue when it's finished), before checking what they were made of and when they arrived I found that they were the "carbon" type. This basically means that there is no copper wire down the centre of the lead and relies upon some silk like material that has been carbonised. I remembered, from my days as a VW mechanic in the 1960's, that these leads work OK when they are new but create problems as they age. Furthermore I didn't like the "crimped on" plug caps. If one of those ever failed, I could not simply screw a standard plug cap into a carbon lead as the screw would just break up the carbon. So I scrapped them and ordered some proper copper leads which you can now see in the picture. So, cut to the right length and fitted all that was left was to push them into the new retaining clips that I had bought. But surprise, surprise, once again the new tinware had no holes to push the clips into. So once again I had to drill the fan housing. But there we are it's done. The tappets have been adjusted and the ignition timing done. So I am almost there.
I'm just waiting for the heater pipe connectors before I can fasten down the rear engine tray and then once the engine is off the stand, I can fit the back plate, behind the fan housing and the oil cooler cover. Then all it needs is some oil.

Hopefully by the next episode I will have started on the bodywork, provided my friend has time available in his workshop. If not I will start on the gearbox.

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Copyright 01.01.18 all rights reserved.

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Saturday, 4 November 2017

7. Karmann Ghia Restoration - Engine Rebuild Part 2.

On the last blog, I had managed to get the crankcase halves together, so now it's time to look at the pistons, barrels and cylinder heads on my 1971 Karmann Ghia Convertible restoration.

As I mentioned, when I stripped the engine, the internals are in very good condition (which was a surprise), so I decided to clean the original pistons and barrels, fit new piston rings, and the re-fit them.

So I set about renovating each piston in turn being careful to keep the same piston with the same barrel. With the old piston rings removed, I could clean and polish the pistons and clean out any carbon from the piston ring grooves and then fit the new rings and clean and paint the barrels with "cylinder black".

As you can see from the picture this process produced quite an improvement. What was unusual for me was the bottom piston ring. As I mentioned, I haven't built a VW engine since the 1960's and was expecting a normal "oil scraper" type bottom ring. This one was different. It has a thin bottom ring, about 1mm thick, then a concertina type metal spring and then another thin top ring, all fitting in the same bottom ring groove in the piston. These were not easy to assemble but with a little perseverance I succeeded.

Next was to fit the four renovated pistons onto the conrods on the engine. Just a simple matter of tapping the Gudeon pin through the little end bearing and fitting the two circlips. Then the hard bit, fitting the barrels. Now I have got a set of motorcycle piston ring clamps, so I thought that I would try one of those. Well that wasn't too successful, as the largest clamp was still a bit too small. So I now had the choice of either making a ring clamp or trying to do it the hard way. Don't ask me why, but I decided on the second option and slid the barrel over the top of the piston and then squeezed the rings together, one at a time with a screwdriver levered against the studs.

Well that worked OK until I got to the new oil ring. This ring, being in three parts would not squeeze together. So, and I don't recommend this, I decided to take advantage of the taper on the inside bottom of the barrel and try gently knocking the barrel over the bottom ring with a rubber hammer. To my total surprise it worked perfectly with no damage on all four pistons.

Now it's time to look at the cylinder heads. These have also been aqua-blasted and are beautifully clean. So it was just a case of cleaning up the old valves, which again show no sign of wear, and then the slow and laborious job of grinding them into the valve seats. I cleaned the carbon off the valves with a rotary wire brush and the ground each one into its seat carefully and with the exception of one valve, that took much longer than the others, they all seated beautifully. So then it was just a case of cleaning  up the valve springs and rockers and the fitting the springs, caps and collets to the valve stems.

So with the heads assembled I could now fit them. I looked in my box of new gaskets for the copper rings that I used to fit between the heads and the barrels and found none!. So I rang VW Heritage and was informed that later models have no cylinder head gaskets. Again my knowledge from the sixties was not up to date enough. So with that knowledge, I now carefully inspected the mating surfaces to ensure that they were clean and flat before offering the heads onto the barrels. Just before starting to fit the heads I remembered to fit the two heat deflector plates under the cylinder barrels. These just clip in, but must be fitted before the pushrod tubes.

Fitting the heads is not quite as strait forward as it may seem, because at the same time you have to trap 4 pushrod tubes between the head and the crankcase. The way to achieve this is to slide the head onto the studs and then take 4 new pushrod tubes, fitted with new seals at both ends and trap them between the head and the crankcase by passing a push rod through the head and tube and into the cam follower in the crank case, so that the tube cannot drop out. I should mention that when I was building engines in the 1960's, it was always good practise to stretch the ends of the tubes a little before fitting them. This allowed the head to squash them up again as you tighten then head down, giving a better seal.

Now the heads could be tightened down, in a "criss-cross" pattern to the correct torque and they are on. Although I still must admit that I am uncomfortable with the knowledge that there are no cylinder head gaskets. Finally the rockers could be located onto the pushrods and the then, after fitting the new bottom pulley and the first bit of tinware behind it, I could rotate the engine with a socket on the pulley nut and see that all of the valves opened and closed correctly.

You will notice that the first bit of tin-ware is chromed. I was originally going to renovate the old tin-ware and paint it. But it was in such a badly corroded condition and the cost cost of new chrome tin ware was so cheap, that I decided to replace it. I should say at this point, that if you are contemplating doing the same, then the new tin-ware needs considerable modification and it is not for the faint-hearted. As you will discover later in the blog.

The next two things to look at were the fuel pump and distributor. The original fuel pump worked fine but looked terrible and needed renovation. So I set about stripping it and cleaning each part separately and the polishing each part. The difference was amazing. I then set about the distributor and cleaned and polished that too.

With both of them now fit for the engine I could attempt the fitting of them. The distributor first. This involves fitting the distributor drive gear shaft first. This is a "worm-gear" and fits down the hole that the distributor fits in, and mates with the brass gear on the crankshaft. First it is necessary to feed two steel thrust washers down the hole for the drive gear to sit on. If you don't do this then the gear will wear into the aluminium casing. So I opened my "bit draw" and took out the distributor drive and then looked for the two thrust washers. There was only one! Despite very lengthy searching, a second thrust washer was nowhere to be found. So I checked on the Internet to see if later engines only had one. But the answer came back every time "there must be two". So I got onto VW Heritage and they sold them in pairs (No surprise there) so I ordered two and now have a spare one.

The trick now is to insert the two thrust washers without dropping them into the engine. This is achieved by putting a little grease on them and then sliding them down a long screwdriver into position. Once they were sitting safely on the shelf deep inside the engine, I could slide in the distributor drive shaft. This has a small "D" and a large "D" on the top and the small "D" must go towards  the crankshaft pulley. So standing in front of the pulley, You offer the shaft slightly turned to the left so that as it engages with the gear on the crankshaft, the inter meshing gears turn the shaft until the small "D" is in the right position. A small spring then goes into a hole on the top of the distributor shaft and the newly polished distributor, with new points, rotor arm and cap pushes in on top of the spring.

Now for the fuel pump. Firstly I cleaned up and fitted the Bakelite pump flange with new gaskets, top and bottom. Then the pump push rod can be dropped in the centre hole (point first). This engages onto a cam that is part of the distributor drive shaft. Then finally the nice clean fuel pump.

The next two bits were easy. I popped on the new Oil Filler and breather pipe and pushed in the new Dip Stick. But I should have read the manual on the next bit.

I decided it would be a good idea to fit the Oil Cooler Support casting. Not knowing that, if you do, you can't fit the oil cooler later. So, not knowing any better, I found the two rubber seals that fit under it and fastened the Oil Cooler support casting down with the three fixing nuts and washers.

Once fitted, I turned my attention to the new tin-ware and decided to fit the two new cylinder top covers. These simply drop on and are fixed in place by two screws on each side that fix the cover to the cylinder head either side of the inlet ports.

It was now time to discover the first of many problems with the new tin-ware. I took a look at the new "Fan Housing" and compared it with the old one. The old one had thermostatically controlled flaps inside that control the flow of air over the cylinders. The new fan housing had nothing. Furthermore it had no provision for these flaps. I read on the Internet that these flaps are essential and so decided that I would have to fit the old ones into the new housing. This meant measuring exactly where they fit and then cutting slots in the new fan housing to accommodate the linkage that works the flaps.

So first I had to find a way of positioning them in the new fan housing. This is difficult because they have an actuating lever that runs between the two sets, so they have to be exactly the correct distance apart and they also have to be positioned so that the rod that drops through the 1&2 cylinder head lines up so that it can connect to the thermostat and with no straight edges to measure from, this required the making of cardboard templates so that I could drill the fixing holes in exactly the correct position.
The flaps over cylinders 3&4 had the additional problem that the internal baffles in the fan housing, reached into the area that the flaps had to occupy. So I also had to cut away some of the internal metalwork to accommodate them.

Once I had managed to mount the two sets of flaps and checked that the external actuating rod still reached between them, I then had to renovate the flaps and all their working parts. This picture shows the 3&4 cylinder flaps done and the 1&2 cylinder flaps awaiting attention. You can also spot the actuating rod on the 1&2 flaps that drops through the fins of the cylinder head and connects to the thermostat.

Well, with the flaps now mounted I tried the fan housing in place and everything seemed to fit OK. But there's more trouble to come.

So now I could look at the generator and fan and like almost everything on this engine, they were in good working order but filthy. So I stripped off the old tin-ware and renovated everything except the outer fan plate, which I replaced with a new chrome one.

The fan was particularly difficult to clean and I worked my way thought about 10 small rotary wire brushes for my Dremel before I was happy with it.

So now with the fan and generator reassembled I could fit them in the fan housing and try them in place.

Two more problems soon became apparent. Firstly, the cylinder covers seemed to stand away from the fan housing by about 5mm on each side. Secondly, I happened to be looking at the old cylinder covers and noticed some air deflector vanes inside the old covers just between the spark plug holes. A quick search on the Internet revealed that these were additions added to later engines to stop overheating in this area. I didn't remember seeing them on the new covers. There was only one thing to do, strip it again. Sure enough there were no such vanes in the new tin-ware. Obviously, I couldn't just buy the vanes as they are a welded on part of the cylinder covers. So there was only one thing  I could do, I used a small cutting disc on the Dremel and slowly ground away the spot welds on the old covers and then drilled and pop-riveted them back onto the new covers. Then, of course I had to rebuild it again.

Just before rebuilding it I decided to fit the oil cooler, except it will not go on as there is insufficient space between the back of the crankcase and the mounting studs to get it in. I should have fitted it to the oil cooler mount casting before fitting the casting to the crankcase. I didn't want to remove the casting again because I didn't want to disturb the rubber seals so I removed the studs instead, passed them through the oil cooler and then put them back in and it worked a treat. So here you can see the back of the fan housing showing the connecting linkage on the thermostat flaps in place and the fan housing now covering the oil cooler.

I was reading about the oil cooler on the Internet and discovered that there was a small metal plate that fits around the base of the oil cooler to stop air escaping before it passes through it. I'd missed that and had to find the offending plate in a draw, strip it down again, fit the plate and then put it all back together again.

Finally the old heat exchange boxes were inspected and found to be unserviceable. So I ordered new ones and a new sports exhaust. So I decided to do a "dry build" and slip them in place to see how they fit. No surprise, they didn't! Once again the new tin-ware stopped them fitting and I had to remove everything again and cut 4mm off the cylinder covers where they touch the crankcase, to enable them to slide on further and allow the exhaust flanges to line up. One final adjustment. As I was, by now, very nervous or anything that touches the new tin-ware, I decided to try the two inlet manifolds, for my new twin carburettors, in place. As expected they didn't fit and I had to linish the sides of the manifolds to get them to fit through the hole provided in the tin-ware.

But there it is. Much more to do yet but it is beginning to look like an engine.
One final thing, the car left my workshop last week and has gone to my friends place to start on the bodywork. So more on that to come.

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Copyright 05.11.17 all rights reserved.

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Wednesday, 4 October 2017

6. Karmann Ghia Restoration - Engine rebuild commences

The crankcase halves, cylinder heads etc. have all come back from the aqua-blasters and they are now lovely and clean, so I can commence rebuilding the engine for my 1971 Karmann Ghia Convertible.

So the first stage is to fit all new big end bearings. I have checked the old bearings for wear and the journals on the crankshaft and surprisingly they are all in excellent condition. So really I have only replaced the bearings because with the engine stripped, it seems a sensible thing to do. I carefully replaced each big end, one at a time, and then refitted the con rod to the crankshaft in the same orientation before doing the next one. As you can see from the picture, the old bearings, on the bench, show next to no sign of wear and the con rod in the picture shows the nice new bearings in place.

The next stage is to rebuild the crankshaft on the camshaft drive end. Firstly I put the new main bearing on the crankshaft, ensuring that the small hole, that locates on a dowel pin in the crankcase was towards the flywheel end of the crankshaft. Next was the camshaft drive gear woodruff key, which simply taps into a groove in the crankshaft. Then it was the turn of the camshaft gear. This required heating up with a blow-lamp, to expand it, to enable it to slide over the mounting surface. You need some thick leather gloves to handle this whilst sliding it on and you also have to ensure that the chamfer on the inside of the gear goes towards the flywheel end of the crankshaft.

Next up is a spacer, that simply slides on and then the brass distributor drive gear. This also needs heating up before sliding on. Now with all those in place it was time to fit the retaining circlip. You need some really strong circlip pliers to open this heavyweight clip and once in place it's a good idea to tap the circlip down into the groove to ensure that it is seated properly.

Now the small main bearing can be slipped on, again ensuring that the dowel pin hole is towards the flywheel end and finally the oil thrower and the final woodruff key for the fan belt pulley.

I must admit at this point I was feeling pretty confident and that usually comes before a fall! Time to offer the crankshaft into the crankcase. So with the split centre main bearing in place and the flywheel main bearing slid over the end of the crankshaft, I carefully lowered the crankshaft into place. Now came the delicate task of rotating the three, non-split, bearings until they locate with the dowel pins in the crankcase.The flywheel bearing rotated and clicked onto the dowel beautifully, as did the small back bearing, but the one next to the camshaft gear was more difficult as the "click" was really difficult to feel and it was a long time before I was happy that it was it place.  Now I could fit the camshaft bearings and the four cam followers that sit under the camshaft. Then the camshaft could be fitted. There are two teeth on the crankshaft gear that are marked with a centre-pop mark and one tooth on the camshaft that is marked with a circle. To get the valve timing correct, the circle must sit between the two centre-popped  teeth. That done, I was almost ready to put the top half of the crankcase on. All I needed was the core plug that fits at the flywheel end of the camshaft. But no matter where I looked, I couldn't find it. I searched everywhere I and finally decided that I must have left it stuck in one half of the crankcase when I sent it for blasting and they've come back without it. Apart from the delay, I didn't see a problem and ordered a new one from VW Heritage at 70p. When it arrived it was exactly as I expected, a small metal cap, with a protruding ridge around it, just as I remembered from the 1960's.

You will remember that I said "confidence usually comes before a fall", well from here onwards everything starts to go wrong.

I took the new core plug into the workshop and offered it up to the crankcase. I then realised that my crankcase has no corresponding groove for the core plug to fit into. Internet investigation revealed that Brazilian engines were fitted with a "rubber" core plug. I rang VW Heritage and they didn't have one. So I tried e-mailing dozens of VW based businesses world wide and eventually someone replied who had one and a week later it arrived. Cost £8.90.

So at last I could put the two crankcase halves together. But first I had to figure out how to hold the other four cam followers, in the top half of the crankcase, in place whilst I held it upside down. The answer came from a wire coat hanger, wound around a broom handle to create two spring clips. I carefully put a thin layer of blue gasket sealant around the edge of the case and lowered it into place. Then with a torque wrench I tightened the six 12mm nuts down and then all of the 8mm fixings around the edge of the case.

One final check, to ensure that the crankshaft is still free to turn and it wasn't!!! The crankshaft was locked solid and the only thing I could do was strip the whole thing down again. And it got worse.

Inspection of the main bearing next to the camshaft gear showed had not been seated on the dowel, as I thought, and the tightening down process had indented the bearing and pressed it right through onto the inner surface, rendering the bearing useless. Furthermore I found that you could not buy just one bearing and had to buy a full set. What's more  I had to heat up and strip all of the gears off the end of the crankshaft again to remove the bearing and doing so damaged the brass distributor gear with the puller.

I was not a happy bunny and the replacement parts cost me another £65. Careful examination of the crankcase revealed that the dowel for this bearing sat lower than all of the other dowels, making it impossible to feel when locating the bearing.

When the new ones arrived I decided to take a different approach. This time I mounted all of the bearings in the crankcase before fitting them to the crankshaft. With the bearings in place and located on their dowels, I took a felt tip pen and marked both sides of the bearing where it lined up with the crankcase. Now when the crankshaft is lowered into place, if I can see all of the black lines, then the dowel holes are directly downwards. I then had to go through the whole procedure again, heating up gears, rebuilding the crankshaft, refitting the camshaft etc. But this time it bolted down and the crankshaft still turned freely. Lesson learnt.

Now with the crankcase together I could look at continuing the rebuild and I felt that the oil pump would be a good place to start. So I found the appropriate gaskets and put the one, that fits between the oil pump and the crankcase, on top of the engine so that I wouldn't forget it whilst I prepared the pump itself. The pump was in excellent condition but filthy and not fit to put on my nice clean crankcase. So into the parts washer bath along with the steel plate cover and then a good scrub and then a trip into the polishing shed to clean up the aluminium edge on the pump. That done I put a nice thin coat of blue sealant onto the crankcase and knocked the pump in, onto its four studs with a soft faced hammer. I was just thinking how nice it looked, when I noticed the gasket still sitting on the top of the engine. "Oh bother" I said (or something like that).

Knocking the oil pump in is one thing, but getting it out again is quite another. I consulted the manual and it was very specific. "Do not try to lever the oil pump out of the crank case, this will irrecoverably damage the mating surfaces". Apparently there are only two ways of removing the pump.
1. Split the crankcase again.
2. Use the special VW oil pump extractor.

After all the trouble I had, there was no way, I was going to split the crankcase again. So that left the special tool, that I don't have! 

I decided to take a look at the pump and see if I could figure out how this special tool could work. The only thing that I could see that a tool could get hold of was the two oil ways, left and right, which are basically two holes in the sides of the pump body about 8mm in diameter. I decided that a metal rod between these two holes that I could pull on was the answer. So I found an 8mm bolt and cut the head off. I then put the bolt in the lathe and turned it down until it fit inside the two holes. This also involved filing a curve out of the centre of the bolt to clear the shaft that supports the idler gear in the pump. Now how to pull on the rod? I found a piece of 10mm threaded rod and welded it to the centre of the turned down bolt. I could now slide the bolt into one oil way and then slide the whole thing across to locate in the hole on the other side. Now all I needed was a "U" shaped piece of metal to fit either side of the pump and I could pull it out. At last a little luck, instead of having to make one, I found a Lambretta clutch compressor that suited the job perfectly. So with the centre bolt removed from the compressor and my threaded rod inserted, all I had to do was tighten the nut and the oil pump pulled out perfectly.

Now I could fit the offending gasket, refit the pump, add the outer gasket and bolt down the metal cover plate. Not the best day I have ever had but at least it ended well. Next will be the pistons, cylinders and heads. Fingers crossed I don't make any more silly mistakes.

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Copyright 04.10.17 all rights reserved.

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