Well, let's wrap up the great Colin Test 'O Rama. Basically, my experience with Colin has been a series of challenges in which he achieves the near-impossible; I then up the ante and test him again. In every case I firmly believe it won't work. In every case we run into significant issues right at the end. In every case Colin somehow perseveres and brings order out of chaos.
It helps that the yellow mouse wanted to live. Some cars fight you the whole way ~ others help you along. This one did more of the latter.
Once we got everything (well, almost everything) together, it was time to put in the coolant and oil.
The oil went in fine, but with the coolant, there was a problem. See, there's a block-off plate on the driver's side head. Fortunately, I hadn't returned the old heads yet, and some PB Blaster and kind words enabled Colin to remove and install the block off plate.
Coolant, round 2. This time, it's leaking from the crossover pipe where it enters into the thermostat housing. This isn't a surprise, since the business end of the pipe is beat up, and rusted away at the edges. Colin uses a file and some sockets to round out the pipe and build up the edge to get a better seal for the pipe. It doesn't work. This is a problem, since this is a show stopper, and tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
I invited Colin to stay, but he wasn't having any. I found that we could get a replacement on Friday from a local VW yard, but that doesn't help us now. So I tell Colin we should try doubling up the O-ring... he turns to me, a maniacal look in his eye, and in a high-pitched tone warbles, "You want to try two O-rings? You WANT TO TRY TWO O-RINGS?!" I'm a little scared at this point, but the man is more desperate than angry; he tries two large size O-rings, but it doesn't work. Just squeezes one out. Oddly, I had picked up a set of cheapie O-rings of various sizes at the FLAPS a few weeks ago, and Colin picks out a little, thin one, and stretches it on. Gingerly, with the touch of a master he works the it in.
Coolant round 3. O Jeebus! It didn't work. Still leaking... but careful peering tells the Man that it's not the crossover pipe; it's the little hose from the thermostat to the driver's side head ~ the clamps weren't tightened.
Coolant round 4. It holds. It HOLDS!
Now for some bleeding. We back it out, but it doesn't want to run/idle. One problem was the S-boot ~ I didn't tighten the clamp on the S-boot. But that doesn't fix our problem. Searching and checking, and a slightly dangerous playing with the plug on number 3 while the engine is running tells Colin that #3 isn't firing. Compression check reveals 0 compression. He asks if I'm a religious man; but then notes the van is working WITH us ~ the problem was revealed on the first cylinder he checked. Pray to whatever gods you hold dear that the problem is a poorly adjusted valve.
Removal of the valve cover reveals just such a problem. The push rod on cylinder 3 exhaust isn't seated in its lifter, and neither is the intake. Readjustment, coupled with a re-jump of the rod off the rocker followed by readjustment results in an engine that starts/idles/runs.
We go for a drive around the neighborhood ~ plenty of power, no problems.
I had to quickly shake Colin's hand ~ it was 4:30pm and I had to be teaching by 5:00pm. He was on his way, and so was I.
Bottom line ~ the van now runs better than it has since I bought it. I had it smogged and tagged by a local shop; they got it running, but it was always hard to start, and wouldn't idle until it was warm. Yesterday, while putting the top on, I moved it outside. Cold start; immediately started, and idled. No problems.
Thanks again Colin ~ you truly work magic; only it's not magic, it's the touch of a master.