Tuesday, 1 September 2009

assembly is the reverse of disassembly....

finally enough bits were bought, delivered, returned, foraged or cleaned for work to begin - although nearly a month later, we still don't have all of them!

armed with our trusty reference library including;
  • the Haynes Manual,
  • the Bentley Official Service Manual,
  • "How to rebuild your Volkswagon Air-cooled Engine" by Tom Wilson,
  • "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot" by John Muir, and
  • the entire internet (especially shoptalk forum's Type4rum)
and with our very own telephone helpline, courtesy of Austin, we set out to put this jigsaw all back together again, right from the very first piece....


Things started well and after a short hiatus to determine conrod orientation (it turns out that on the Type 4 they don't have a "right way up" and therefore don't have the markings which tell you with way up they need to go which caused some confusion) we soon had the crankshaft looking just like the picture.

Camshaft next and because we had to get a slightly uprated one (due to delivery lead times not delusions of performance!), we had to reuse the old camgear - not a problem, drill the rivets out and when all else fails, hit it with a hammer!

We bolted the camgear to the new camshaft with the bolts provided and it all started looking good....

After some faffing, some sealing, some more faffing and some torquing we stuck the crankcase together and started on cylinders and pistons

All going well so far, too well.....

The next day, we hit our first real problem, when Will broke the oil pump whilst bolting it to the crank case. Upon the further investigation, the root cause became apparent...

<--Clearance available to camgear bolts

Clearance required for oil pump -->

Subsequent conversations with the camshaft and bolts supplier reassured us that

"oh yes sir they are the right bolts, they just need machining before you fit them"

This is a definition of "right" of which we have hitherto been unaware... but fortunately this advice did ultimately turn out to be correct as after a whistlestop 3-day trip to china for work, Will spent a happy couple of hours communing with his lathe (NB every job is a job for a lathe once you have one!) and bolts of the right size were created and fitted.

Honorable mention to Toby at this point for failing (yet trying very hard) to save the day ;)

Crisis averted, continuing on, or so we thought....

The next weekend was spent in its entirety trying to remove one stud from one cylinder head. It was too frustrating to even take pictures of as the head was alternately cooked in the oven and frozen with liquid oxygen and nut after nut was welded to and then sheared off the stud in question. Eventually at nearly 11pm on Sunday night, in the dark, the stud came out with less than an inch left and the head was "sent" for cleaning

Despite the (continuing!) lack of pushrods and some teeth sucking and "oh you didn't want to do it like that, I wouldn't have installed that camshaft in a Type 4, you won't find pushrods and lifters that will work with that cam and you'll probably find that your timing will be all wrong and your ecu won't like it and you might end up with no power but I suppose you could put it back together and see what happens" from a "properman", assembly continued until the magic words from Mr Wilson

"Now you have completed the basic engine rebuild. All that remains is to bolt on the accessories and you are ready to refit the engine"

After some faffing, the misdiagnosis of a perfectly fine thermostat and some more faffing

<--- the accessories, and

the newly sparkly tinware -->

were all bolted on and we were ready for refit - oh, still without pushrods but apparently they can go in after...

With the help of some actual skilled labour - well he has the right t-shirt anyway ;) - rather than just me, final pre-flight checks were completed

and the engine emerged, blinking into the light of day, to be reintroduced to the van.

somewhat surprisingly, this all went rather smoothly and a test turnover or two of the engine (still no pushrods(!) so no actual starting) resulted in oil pressure and no big puddles of oil on the floor - hurrah! - so accessorising can continue in earnest...

Which just leaves three questions:
  1. When will these pushrods ever arrive?
  2. Once we have them, will we find that it does actually work any better than it did before (or indeed at all)? and
  3. Where did all these left over bolts come from...?

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