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 the 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 support 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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Thursday, 6 July 2017

5. Karmann Ghia Restoration - Engine Strip

In the absence of progress on the bodywork on my 1971 Karmann Ghia Convertible (My friend has an American car stuck on his car lift so can't do the welding yet), I decided to take a look at the engine. My wife bought me a VW engine cradle at Christmas and now is the time to try using it. I decided to use my motorcycle lift as a base for the stand and secured the swivel socket to the lift with 10mm bolts and wing nuts. This makes it easy to remove when I want to put a bike back on the stand. I then bolted the cradle to the engine and with a jack under the engine, slid the cradle into the socket and tightened the clamp and with a couple of the car's wheels on the other end of the lift, as a counterbalance, I was ready to start stripping the engine.

So the first thing was the exhaust, which to my surprise unbolted with very few problems and with the exception of the clamp bolts, where the exhaust connects to the heater boxes, which snapped, all other nuts bolts and screws came out OK. I have no intention of refitting this exhaust, but I never throw anything away until a project is completed. So right now, it's under the bench. The heater boxes were next and again they came off reasonably easily. These are in quite good condition and will just need cleaning up and painting.

With the exhaust and heater boxes off, I could now tackle the tin-ware and the fan housing was my next target. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, I haven't stripped a VW engine since the late 1960's and things have changed a little and removing the fan housing is one of them. I now discovered that you can't remove the side screws until the inlet manifolds have been removed and also there is an interesting shutter system on the back of the fan housing that also needs disconnecting. Well the manifolds came off by releasing the jubilee clips joining them to a rubber hose which in turn connects to the rest of the inlet manifold that goes up to the carburettor. So two clips and two nuts on each side and they were off. I could now reach the side screws on the fan housing and remove them and with the fan belt removed and the alternator clip released, the fan housing should lift off. Well it lifted about 30mm and then stopped. I had forgotten that the shutter arrangement in the fan housing is connected to the thermostat under the right hand cylinder barrels by a thin metal rod and this also needs disconnecting before the fan housing will lift off. So thermostat removed, off it came.

I could then remove the inlet manifold and carburettor and the petrol pump and distributor. You will note from the picture, that I have not attempted to remove the Bakelite fuel pump flange as I remembered that they usually snap the long stem that goes deep inside the engine block , that is on underside of this flange, when you try to get them out. So I decided to leave this until later. Removing the fan housing also properly revealed the oil cooler making it easy for this to be removed,

So now I could remove the final bits of tinware and expose the cylinder heads and barrels.I felt that this was a good time to remove the clutch and flywheel and see what condition they were in. Well the pressure plate was excellent but the centre plate and flywheel were not so good. It looks as though the clutch has been recently replaced but the flywheel was not. This seemed like a very odd thing to do, as the flywheel is so bad that it has ruined one side of the centre plate.

It took a while to discover why the flywheel had not been replaced. Then answer is simple, whoever did the clutch replacement could not get the flywheel off the engine and so left in on. I approached removing the flywheel with great confidence. I inserted my flywheel stop, put a 36mm socket on the flywheel nut and using a long power bar attempted to undo the nut. It did not move. So I slipped a long six foot tube over the power bar and tried again. This managed to lift the bike lift up on to two wheels but still didn't move the nut. So I got a man to press down with all his weight on the left side of the engine whilst I tried again with even more effort. This time there was a bang and the bar moved. Unfortunately it was not the nut coming undone. It was the teeth breaking off my flywheel stop. This nut is really on  tight! So now I had to make a bar to fit across the pressure plate fixing bolts and extend outwards and lock into the engine cradle. I then took the engine off the stand and sat it on the floor, I then got a man to stand on the cylinder heads while I got a ten foot tube over the power bar and tried again. The power bar was bending, the man was loosing his balance as the engine tipped and then suddenly it moved and the nut was loose. No wonder the person who changed the clutch did not change the flywheel.

The next stage was to drain the oil, which was black, and then remove the cylinder heads and the cylinders.The heads came off quite easily, although No1 cylinder came off with the head and was well stuck in the head. To my surprise the heads, valves and cylinders are in remarkable condition. No sign of scoring in the barrels or on the pistons and all the valves look good. It is my intention to have hardened valve seats fitted in the heads anyway but it's still nice to find good news for a change.

So how to remove the No1 cylinder
from the head.I thought that maybe I could just give the barrel a gentle tap with a rubber hammer to loosen it, but that didn't work. So I then tried a rubber belt wrench rapped around the cylinder and tried to turn it. That didn't work either. So I settled for soaking the joint in penetrating oil and leaving it for a two days. That didn't work either. I was running out of ideas, when I decided to try another approach. Aluminium expands at a greater rate than cast iron, so I thought I would try heating up the cylinder head with a blow-lamp and see if that would beak the seal with the barrel. Success, it did and the barrel could then be removed from the head.

 Now I could strip the heads and take a look at the mating surfaces on the valves. More good news, the valves are all good. Although I will probably fit new ones when I rebuild the engine anyway. It seems quite odd that the car is in such bad condition and the outside of the engine is so filthy and yet the inside of the engine is looking so good. Perhaps when I split the crank case the story will change!

So now it's time to delve deep inside and split the crank case. So I removed the four nuts on the oil pump and all of the fixings holding the crank case together. Then with a gentle tap, with a fibre hammer, on the casing I loosened the two halves just enough to release the pressure on the oil pump housing so that it could easily be removed.

Now a few more gentle taps and a little pulling and the two halves of the crank casing separated and revealed a really nice clean engine. The main bearings showed some slight scratches where grit had passed around them but no real signs of wear and the cam followers are completely unmarked. More importantly there is no sludge or metal deposits in the bottom of the crank case. Wow!!

The other thing that I noticed was quite a surprise. In my ignorance I had assumed that this car and its engine had been made in Germany. However under the grime on the side of the crank casing it clearly says "Brazil".

Well now for the final bit of the engine strip. The crank shaft.I decided, at this point, only to remove on con-rod and take a look at the big ends. True to form they are beautiful. It almost seems a shame to replace them, when they are so good. But when you are so deep into an engine I feel that I should fit new bearings just to be on the safe side.

So the only bit left to look at now is the back main bearing and to do that I've got to remove the oil thrower, the distributor drive and the camshaft drive and this requires the use of some more heat and the use of a puller.

As you can see, I've laid out the parts in the order that they were removed and photographed them so that, when I start the rebuild, I have a record of the correct order of assembly.

As anticipated, the main bearing is beautiful. Unfortunately the puller had chipped a tooth on both the distributor drive and the camshaft drive. I suppose I could simply chamfer the chipped teeth and re-fit them but, knowing me, I will probably replace them when it comes to the rebuild.

Well that's the end of the engine strip. I'm still having trouble locating two of the nylon bushes for the soft top.

If anyone has any idea where I might get two of these bushes, please let me know.

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Copyright 07.06.17 all rights reserved.

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

4. Karmann Ghia Restoration - Engine out & more

Well my 1971 Karmann Ghia Convertible has been measured up for its tow bar, which was cleverly done by bending mild steel rods into the correct shape and lengths. These can then be used as templates to make the proper square tubing parts for the tow bar. So now I can commence further stripping and that starts with the engine.

My experience of removing VW engines is quite good, although the last time I removed one was about 1969, however the bolts are still in the same places although some things have changed. The main one being the position of the oil cooler, which is now on the back of the fan housing and stops you reaching the top left bolt. I discovered that to combat this VW introduced a hank bush in that position and the bolt now has to be removed from over the top of the gearbox and that's pretty awkward.

Anyway with the front tray removed, all wiring, the throttle cable, heater cables and heater pipes removed, I could now undo all four fixings on the bell housing and remove the engine. Easier said than done. It was stuck and required a fair bit of levering and pulling and adjusting of the jack under the engine, before it finally pulled backwards and could be dropped out from underneath the car. Although this engine runs, it is my intention to completely strip and overhaul it, but not yet. My main priority at this point is the bodywork.

My friend, who has offered to do the welding for me (He's much better at it than I am) has said that he wants to transport the car up to his workshop to do it, so I am limited what I can do before he collects it. So I thought I would look at the areas that need replacement panels first and the Near Side Rear needs it the most.

I have received quite a few of the replacement panels, so I offered them up to the car and drew around them with a black felt tip pen. My next task was to find solid metal where the black lines are to have something to weld to. Well the more I sanded with my DS orbital sander, the more filler I found. In fact it was so thick that it measured 10mm thick in some places, and my sander was just eating sanding discs. So I decided to use the angle grinder fitted with a heavy duty sanding disc. This cut through the filler and I did find good metal but filled the workshop with clouds of dust. So I have now ordered a dust extractor to fit my angle grinder before I do any more.

So that left me with the question "what else can I get on with?" So I decided to turn my attention to the soft top. More bad news. Now I already knew that the car would need a new hood and headlining, but now I discover that the front wooden bow is completely rotten and needs replacing and the price quoted for that is very high. One of the metal cones that passes through this wood and located the hood onto the top of the windscreen frame snapped off.

So I turned my attention to the rubber seals that are connected to the hood and fit around the windows. These are perished and need replacing. So far the quote I have for these seals is over £100. I can't believe the cost for 4 bits of rubber.

So now I decided to take a look at the hood frame itself. This will need to be shot blasted and powder coated before the new hood is fitted. But first there are two nylon bushes that need replacing and no one seems to have any or have any idea where I can get them from. If you know where I can get them please get in touch with me. This is not just a straight bush as the inside hole is concave to house a round pivot ball.

Finally I need a new rear window catch, as the old one has a broken lever on it. Again, if you know where I can get one, please let me know. If not, I think that I can make this part and possible fix the old one.

I also managed to buy a complete second hand interior for the car, seats, carpets and door cards all in the right colours, although they will need some attention before they will be ready to fit. But at least that may have saved me some money.

Well that's it for now, I have no idea what the next stage will be so keep a look out for the next blog.

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My Other Blogs:
BSA A10 Super Rocket

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