Colin schools the Professor ~ Updated with links to VC pix

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Lanval
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Colin schools the Professor ~ Updated with links to VC pix

Post by Lanval » Wed Aug 06, 2008 10:49 pm

Well Colin was spot on time, and after some theory, we got to work. First up:

I pulled the van across to park in a cleaner spot, and we took off the cover and started looking around. Colin pulled the top of the distributor off, and asked to look at a couple of things while he was getting some tools. I couldn't find the front of the rotor (with the copper? piece in it)... because the copper piece had broken off...

This was the first of many signs that the work done on my newly rebuilt engine (less than 1500 miles from the install) was, shall we say, less than satisfactory.

So we need a new rotor, but we'll get after lunch. Next up: setting the hydraulic lifters and checking the valve covers and VC gaskets.

Passenger side came off, the VC was beat up and bent, so Colin straightened it, and I put it on. Driver's side comes off and I look at the gasket.

Now, I had taken the Van back to the engine builder after a week because of a heavy leak from the driver's side VC ~ so what did I see when it came off in my hands... the cork gasket had been installed with a none to neat layer of RTV or some such crap

Colin cleans that VC while I set the lifters, and he installs the VC. Lunch, and acquire the Bosch rotor at Carquest. They gave me a cheap American made substitute that looked suspiciously like the DOA rotor I was replacing. Colin asked them to check for a Bosch ~ they brought the correct Bosch rotor out at $4 less than the crappy substitute. Add in some German VC gaskets that were thicker than the cheapie cork gaskets installed by the engine builder and we're off.

Install the rotor, check the VC. The passenger side I installed is leaky, Colin re-installs with new gasket, no leaks. I do the driver's side with new gasket it leaks... Colin shows me how to get the bale on w/o moving the VC.

So now let's look at timing. Hmmm. My new engine is running at 10 deg ATDC... WTF? No problem ~ Colin shows me how to set the timing at idle, checking the vacuum advance and making sure the vacuum advance is working.

With the official Itinerant Air-Cooled timing marks painted on, setting the time is a breeze, and now the van is running better. But not good enough.

Out comes the carb cleaner, and Colin shows me the various spots I can check. A few possibilities, but nothing dramatic enough to suggest that the change is from carb cleaner and not just the engine idling a bit faster than slower on its own. That is until he finds a vacuum leak... wait for it...

on the #2 intake manifold at the head. By now I realize my $1500 for the rebuild was money down the rabbit hole, and my $400 for the IAC expert is the best money I've spent on this van since I bought it.

So now I'm filing the face of the intake to flatten it out ~ meanwhile we scout around my parts box (from the PO) and get some gaskets for the intake manifold, because the old thin gasket came apart when we tried to remove it. Put it all back together with some sealant and hope that the head isn't warped.

Then it's on to the AFM. You will not be surpised to discover the engine is running lean. But you might be surprised to discover that the AFM is already set to max rich setting (on the top portion ~ not the black disk held by the spring). Why would this be? Why is the screw adjustment for air flow on the AFM ALL THE WAY IN? So we work through the AFM. It's clearly running lean, and so the settings are adjusted to find a happy medium.

Now it's time for a test run. I was complaining about high temps going uphill, so how about a run up Newport Coast Road. It's off for a drive, with Colin behind the wheel. He gives me his instructions on driving to maximize clutch life and take it easy on the shifting system AND the engine. Then it's up the hill. At 45 mph, the engine hit's a max of 430 with engine oil temp in 110 deg C. range.

Then I get behind the wheel. Holy Moly! Is this even the same engine? All kinds of power (well in VW stock air-cooled terms), firm, even response, it's like a different van ~ a new engine, with power, etc. But what's the smoke?

The darn driver's side VC is peeing oil... um, the one I put on. Colin removes the VC and checks the gasket and the seating. This VC is a bit bent up too, and the AMC head isn't the cleanest casting you ever saw... maybe there's a problem with the fit? In getting the VC to sit on and get the bale (a lousy, lousy job to do when the engine/heater box is hot) Colin begins to suspect that the VC isn't the greatest, but he gets it on, with a few burn marks I think, and off we go.

We return to our starting spot. The heater box looks too wet to be sure the VC isn't still leaking, though if it is, it's a small fraction of what was coming out before. Doesn't matter as I now know how to deal with this problem. New VC's coming up, and I'll put them on ~ no worries.

Oh, BTW, I forgot to mention that the driver's side heater box was hotter than blue blazes? Could it be because my engine rebuilder, when he had the engine apart, didn't bother fixing the flaps (which are broken on the driver's side) or installing the switch and cable for the flaps? I thought that was odd at the time, but accepted their answer (you don't need it down here where it's warm.. uh, OK); should've trusted my instincts (after a rebuild the engine should be 100% stock).

All in all it was an exceptional 10 hours, and flew by. I can't remember being more satisfied with having spent money. Colin is an excellent teacher, in terms of his understanding of the subject, his ability to communicate that understanding with exceptional clarity and his insistence on using theory as a prep to hands on experience.

Again, a tip o' the hat to Randy in Maine for suggesting getting in contact with Colin here at the IAC ~ Randy, you're welcome by my fire anytime.

And I'm now thinking about next year... heh, heh, heh. (Note to self, courtesy of Colin ~ that transmission looked like heck, and shuddering clutches are not to be tolerated... nor non-functioning window washers.... plenty of work to do before I wax and polish the engine compartment...)

Best,

Lanval

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Hippie
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Post by Hippie » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:54 am

Randy in Maine is a great guy.
Very knowledgable, too.

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dtrumbo
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Post by dtrumbo » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:23 am

Hippie wrote:Randy in Maine is a great guy.
Very knowledgable, too.
X2. He's helped me so many times, I've lost count! =D>
- Dick

1970 Transporter. 2015cc, dual Weber IDF 40's
1978 Riviera Camper. Bone stock GE 2.0L F.I.
1979 Super Beetle convertible.

... as it turns out, it was the coil!

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Birdibus
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Post by Birdibus » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:15 am

Lanval~ You are in Irvine? When Colin left here I thought he was going to
Escondido. Either way, hello neighbor!
71 bus, 74 westy

Lanval
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Post by Lanval » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:28 am

That's what the some comments suggest, but not sure what his plan was. If I understood right, Colin's on a bit of a schedule, as he was out of here 7:30pm sharpish, on his way to TX.

Where are you in the Inland Empire?

Best,

Lanval

PS ~ yeah, I'm on the UCI campus for another year or so.

L

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Birdibus
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Post by Birdibus » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:33 am

I'm in Pomona. He was at my house the day before he met you.

I thought maybe he went to the wrong town (I drew him a map), and then had to travel back to the other town, but nevermind, it obviously all worked out.
71 bus, 74 westy

Lanval
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Follow up for Colin

Post by Lanval » Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:58 pm

So I had a chance today to look at the engine and follow up on work. Here's the thing we were looking at:

1) Driver's side VC ~ is it still leaking?
I warmed it up, drove it around, on the freeway, etc. The VC is indeed leaking a very little bit, on the front lower corner, right about where Colin thought there was some kind of funny business. Just enough to impart a very thin sheen on the top part of the heater box. I have some pix ~ if they're worthwhile I will post them up.

2) Passenger side intake header ~ is it still leaking (vacuum)?
I tested it while running the engine with my new bottle of Gum Out Carb cleaner. I could discern no difference. I'll check it again a few times.

3) Everything else still good?
Idle was a little high at 1200. I adjusted the idle mix down after the engine was hot. It drops straight to 1200 and then slowly down to 1000. Don't know why. Checked the blocked decel. valve vacuum line, and it holds the vacuum correctly.

Works correctly, just a bit slow down to 1000K idle.

So the upshot is this:

Problem 1) ~ I'm going to acquire a decent set of VCs and learn how to put them on myself, AND have them not leak.

Problem 2) ~ Check once more, and then assume all is well.

Problem 3) ~ Keep an eye on it. Practice checking/setting timing, etc.

Here's the IAC difference:

Before: Barely holds 55mph, CHT = 440
Today: Holds 60mph with plenty of power to spare, CHT = 412-20

Thanks again Colin. I'll be on that windshield washer I guess, seeing as how I can DRIVE now.

Thanks again,

Lanval

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dingo
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Post by dingo » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:18 pm

By now I realize my $1500 for the rebuild was money down the rabbit hole,
$1500 for a rebuild is suspiciously cheap price...that should be a flag that corners will be cut by the rebuilder
'71 Kombi, 1600 dp

';78 Tranzporter 2L

" Fill what's empty, empty what's full, and scratch where it itches."

Lanval
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Post by Lanval » Sat Aug 09, 2008 3:20 pm

dingo wrote:
By now I realize my $1500 for the rebuild was money down the rabbit hole,
$1500 for a rebuild is suspiciously cheap price...that should be a flag that corners will be cut by the rebuilder
Let me be more precise:

$3000 for the rebuild, but half of that was the parts, which I sourced myself to save money. Febi lifters, Pistons/cylinders from Germany (mahle, I think, but I could be wrong), AMC heads.

Still, I should have made them do a couple of things additional, but now, who knows if it would've made the/a difference...? Anyway, labor for next rebuild's gonna be free 'cause I'm doing it!

Best,

Lanval

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Randy in Maine
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Post by Randy in Maine » Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:47 pm

If you end up getting new valve covers, just hold them up to the head and you will see where the AMC castings are too much.

If you have a dremel tool or if a buddy has a die grinder with a straight cutting bit, you can shave a little ~ 1/16" off the corners in just a few minutes. Test fit it as you grind several times.
79 VW Bus

Lanval
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Post by Lanval » Sat Aug 09, 2008 7:03 pm

Randy,

I do have a dremel-type tool, though I'm reluctant to try this. I'd like to do something like the dentist, when he's working on a crown. They use a carbon-type paper to mark the high spots, then work just on that spot.

Without some similar type of marking system, I probably won't try this, if only because it's basically sealable as is. Or so it would seem, since it's been sealed before (albeit with goop-like product, maybe silicone of some sort).

Ultimately, since I didn't take TenCent's advice and have the valves done, if I can get it sealed, I'll take that and call it good. Then I'll probably pull the heads for Colin's visit next year (cross your fingers on that one ~ school is getting problematic), have the heads/valves done and put the engine back together after he checks over the inner-goods. That'd make a nice 2 day job or so, maybe.

Oh yeah, I want to add a twin-turbo setup. :pirate:

Best,

Lanval

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Hippie
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Post by Hippie » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:20 am

Lanval wrote:...I'd like to do something like the dentist, when he's working on a crown. They use a carbon-type paper to mark the high spots, then work just on that spot.
Lanval
I've used a very thin layer of white pipe thread sealing compound for fitting parts. It's like thick white paint that doesn't dry.
For finer work, I've also smoked one surface black with candle soot.
Don't know if that helps with your valve covers or not.

Lanval
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Post by Lanval » Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:30 am

Here's the pix of the valve cover. If you look carefully you can see the forward valve cover is a bit damp, and there is some oil that's come down the valley/groove section of the header up front.

Prior to running I cleaned it all dry with Gum Out Carb Cleaner. It's nearly impossible to tell from these pix, but there is a very fine sheen of oil over the back half of the heater box. Since no oil appears to be leaking from the VC in back, I assume it's just blown back from the front corner. Pix here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Lanval.de.l ... veCoverPix

Best,

Lanval

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Mon Aug 11, 2008 10:57 am

Lanval wrote:there is a very fine sheen of oil over the back half of the heater box.
Can you BELIEVE I am in Oklahoma already? It is all green and crap. Leaves and grass and stuff.

Anyways, I think Randy is correct, we have an issue with the AMC heads. You may remember me crabbily crabbing about "dimension-creep" with successive generations of aftermarket parts, and AMC heads are not immune. You can and should (for fun and productivity) remove the valve cover and crarefully set aside the gasket. Place the gasketless valve cover on the head, and see if it comfortably fits over the head's gasket sealing surface with a little play as you move it for and aft and up and down a little. If it is a tight fit, you want to reduce the outer perimeter of the AMC gasket sealing surface width. My observation, lost in the hysteria of our day, was that the leading edge (next to the #3 exhaust rocker arm)was incorrectly cast. Was I also bitching about the serpentine wire being all bent of shape next to the #3 exhaust where it is supposed to tuck along the radius of the cylinder head? I shore cain't remember all these Volkswagens' details. . .
Colihoma
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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James Dwan
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Post by James Dwan » Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:06 pm

So what time did you get to OK City? If you drove right through from Dallas it would probably have been about 1 am if you didn't attract the attention of OK's finest =D>

Had a hard time waking up Monday morning, don't know how you do it. This was the first time I had no project lined up except for the usual fine tuning of the Super and the Bus but as I suspected we used up 12 hours real quick doing all sorts of things that needed to be done. I think I am actually starting to understand Hydraulic lifter adjustment and AFM tuning. The Bus drives like new and I am shifting with 2 fingers, happy trails :cheers:
Hope to see ya again next year!
'73/'77 Westfakia
'78 Super Vert
'59 23 Window Deluxe

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