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About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:30 pm
by Amskeptic
Oh, it was an adventure all right...

We had left off with a new and nasty generator bearing rumble and a developing oil leak and the vibration in the low 1,500 rpm range as I came down the Nevada-California border. I called Cindy to please PM satchmo and Elwood for help, seeing as they were at the fringe of the teeming Los Angeles metropolis. I done did chose Elwood so I could camp under the quiet stars and watch over the twinkling lights of inland valley below, but as importantly, I chose Elwood because of her sympatico with early baywindow buses and maybe even some spare parts.

Woke up happy to be above that stupid Pacific Ocean's penchant to dump foggy cold moisture all over the poor damp people below:

I was in glorious early morning sunshine that warmed me up from a chilly night. I was so looking forward to getting Things Taken Care Of with TBRRD. Pulled in to the driveway and paid my annual You Actually Did That Arctic Circle Trip Respects to the Elwood VW itself. We chatted for a while and then it was let's get that engine out, the sun is warm:

I love these cars, they are so easy to work on but they are serious engineering, too:

Engine is out and I am in a high state of anticipation - what has been causing that leak?? We read up on Mike's rebuild in the Hambone engine overhaul thread, and saw that the case had indeed been welded (as I vaguely remember mentioning to Hambone back in July when Neal, Hambone, and I had taken out the engine to try to reduce the vibration):

Then we practiced with the timer on the camera, us old Volkswagen enthusiasts scrambling our creaky joints over to pose next to the car:

Removed fan housing and generator and looked at the carefully foam sealed cooler. Mike was fastidious:

Here's the weld job on the magnesium case:


I scraped and cleaned and scratched and etched and carb-sprayed the weld repair area again and again. Then I blobbed the whole area with JB Weld, like that 170,000 miles of JB Welded gallery plug on the Road Warrior. This was primarily to remove any doubt that the repair area was responsible for the oil leak:

I took apart the fan and generator asembly, and installed the new generator with focus on rotational integrity, even banged the fan a little to reduce runout. I had purchased a new generator pulley with woodruff key to get rid of any play, any play at all will set up a vibration and knocking around that wallows out the key slots and cracks the pulley over time. No sir ... I respect these poor little generators spinning at crazy rpms for their entire lives. Had to take out the brushes and sand the commutator smooth with 1000 grit sandpaper, good grief, the rebuilt generator had brush-eating roughness. Also tightened the slots where the brushes ride so they would not wiggle or cock sideways. Set the fan housing plate-to-fan clearance at just over a millimeter:

Had a chilly night (35*) camping in the car anticipating the next day's work. We went out for breakfast in Elwood and returned to good late morning sunshine where the engine released its gland nut so I could Hail Mary Guess the flywheel onto a different location on the crankcase. Since the vibration was sooo obviously horrible, I thought 180* would have to be an improvement. Then I remounted the pressure plate 120* in the opposite direction to be 60* back from the 180* that Hambone and I had mounted it to get rid of the vibration in July! That split the assumed heavy spot , it has to work! please! Had it all clean and together by 5:00PM. Engine started right up. Generator was fresh brush shrieky smooth. Vibration was seriously diminished, back to a sort of usual vibration of a not-professionally-balanced engine. Looking good ...

Elwood and cat!

Colin and cat:

Thank-you, Elwood, for hosting this emergency engine pull. You are one of the great Original VW Spirits.

Six miles down the road, I pulled over to check the engine. Oil is dribbling under the car.
(to be continued)

Re: About That Adventure .....

Posted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:41 pm
by ruckman101
A main oil seal leak is fairly self evident. Surely the normal culprits have been ruled out, pushrod seals, valve cover seals, what's left but oil cooler issues, or oil pump gaskets gone bad?

Welded repair on the case? Shudder. No sir, I don't like it. Compromised. Ok for an occasional driver I guess. More and more I yearn for a never before seen heat case for the base of a new build. Tensile strengths grown brittle from temperature excesses of the past I'd rather not inherit. But of course I have and do.

adventure on,

Re: About That Adventure .....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:47 am
by Lanval
I went over to Elsinore to get some parts, and knew that Colin was in the neighborhood. I was there only 10 minutes before a familiar sound accosted me from the driveway. It was Colin, in search of spare parts, and answers, though not in that order.

I milled about the yard picking up pieces, while Colin went in search of a floor jack to do an R n R on his now-leaky engine.

I left Colin in a Starbucks ...


Michael L

Re: About That Adventure .....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:23 am
by Amskeptic
Lanval wrote: I left Colin in a Starbucks
Indeed you did, with Mr. Cranktankerous here telling you, "don't pull up a chair".
How rude.
I was crazed with:
A) QUESTIONS about what was wrong with the engine
B) DOUBTS about my ability to continue this line of work
C) REMORSE about the continuing course of abuse against my credit card

So I left Starbucks with Leaky TBRRD and pulled into an industrial park where I could park and get industrious:

In no time I had the car down to "definitely undriveable".
A guy in a Dodge truck pulls up. "Hey! I got a towbar."
"Hey yourself, I got an oil leak."
"No, I mean I can tow you."
"Thank-you, but I want to drive."

Another guy walks up. "Man! that is a big job!"
"What is a big job?"
"What you're doing."
"What am I doing?"
"Whatever you're doing."
"Whatever are you talking about?"
"I don't know."
We laughed at our improv comedy and I showed him the three offending rinkydink sources of my splatted-all-over-everything oil leak laid out on the sidewalk :

The below is how Mike had put it together. Pre-doghouse coolers had to have spacers between the cooler and the case. Mike figured this cooler needed the spacers too, here seen in shiny copper where it attaches to the adapter:

But the doghouse coolers have built-in "spacer" projections like the Type 4 engines. I removed Mike's copper washers and cinched down the cooler, voila! perfect:

Do I risk putting it all back together? Cleaning all of these stupid parts all over again like I did at Elwood's? Do I think I have it nailed THIS TIME?? old man?
You betcha. 7:07PM as spiffy and oil free as it was yesterday afternoon ... for the first 300 yards.

Sweet relief. I drove back to the Starbucks (over 2000 yards, oil leak free!), now looking quite a bit rougher than when I was there at noon.

Drove up the hill and looked over the twinkling lights of Lake Elsinore at night. Engine is smoother than I have experienced with this car. Why, it is almost as good as Hambone's.

I camped at the summit under the stars and a late night waning crescent moon, relieved that I do not have a cracked crankcase.
Maybe I will continue fixing other people's Volkswagens ....

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:57 am
by ruckman101
Should there be spacers doing a similar task on the bolts of the pedestal holding it to case?

I agree, pulling up in a bus whose ass end has a fine coating of oil distributed over it isn't a ringing endorsement of capabilities. Congrats on narrowing it down and fingers crossed you've nailed it.

Sweet shots Mike. 90 degrees? Melt. Rain has let up today. So far just clouds in the trees quickly burning off.



Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:20 am
by Amskeptic
ruckman101 wrote:Should there be spacers doing a similar task on the bolts of the pedestal holding it to case?
Nope. Fully recessed steps on the doghouse adapter-to-case, just use your 10mm stepped seals and torque to spec.
I am oil free this morning after a good wind-it-out CA74 from inland to coast.

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:22 am
by Elwood
I hope you did not have to buy that floor jack, I offered you mine to keep, remember? It was only the SS breaker bar that is a keeper Ive had B/E (before El)

So very glad you are back on your journey in that beautifull bus --- it will certainly earn a new bovine name. Wish I could have met the last owner in person, but did feel his spirit all around us .

As always Colin your company was a delite and your sage advise about all matters in life and vws was priceless.

btw the cats name is Chuck and he and his sis will be my traveling mates when we hit the road in the spring---

Love, Barb

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:57 am
by Sylvester
Elwood wrote:btw the cats name is Chuck and he and his sis will be my traveling mates when we hit the road in the spring---

Love, Barb
Where are Barb, Chuck and Sis be going in the Spring? Swinging by Atlanta?

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:56 pm
by Xelmon
It is the littlest things that get to us.

Glad that that problem was resolved! :)

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:29 pm
by glasseye
good job colin! nice shirt elwood!

Spoken at my phone.

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:10 pm
by Birdibus
This is a sign at a hang glider ramp on private property very near to where Lanval took his photo of Lake Elsinore. I hoped I had one with me in the foreground, or the bus, but I only have other people in the shots. It is a very dramatic escarpment. That road has a crazy hairpin turn, and the drop off on one side is very scary in places.

Lanval, only 90? Well, it looks like our heat wave is about to end in a day or so.

Yes, Barb, what adventures are you planning?


Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 5:44 pm
by pj
Take care of my toolbox, I do expect it back you know.

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:28 pm
by Hippie
1. Glad you got it fixed
2. Glad you are still fixing VWs. Wish you were here about now so you could see my mess in person and help me think.
3. Barb, you are cool. A beautiful person.
4. Pretty cat.

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:55 pm
by vwlover77
What a great thread all around! :study: :cheers:

Re: About That Adventure Thing.....

Posted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:32 am
by steve74baywin
At least it probably was a bit easier taking the T1 engine out of that bus vs a later bay.