Friday, October 3, 2008

40 Horses of Fury

Eventually I'll get around to building a nice 1500S engine for the Nautilus. Really. I WILL. However, with all the oil burning going on in the engine room of my wife's '65 Type 14 last year, I guess it was inevitable that I would break out my wrenches and get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, we bought well and most everything was original and intact. All that was needed was a good freshening up of the longblock and a couple of cosmetic improvements. Somewhere along the line I decided to take that to the next level. So for now we will re-live the past glories of this 40 HP engine build which serves as a fine example of how motivated I can get with the details when I want to.

I do enjoy engine building. These days, it's nice to be able to take advantage of some modern paints and finishes to get a result near stock, but potentially longer lasting. It's also the time to lift the lid on the Nice Old Stuff box and be able to feel guilt free in putting those rare shelf worn parts to good use. It's also the time where all that old information gathering really pays off. I can't tell you how many people actually contributed to this engine in part because of a comment made on some forum or blog that sunk its way deep into a subconscious and oft times retentive crevice within my memory. Anyway, the re-issued Bently shop manuals also paid off and the good folks at Bugs For You and Wolfburg West also helped bring it home. But, I would be remiss if I didn't extend the greatest amount of credit and appreciation to Jay Taylor of NuVintage, who tirelessly dealt with my incessant requests for numerous small but critical parts and really helped me maintain the authenticity of this engine.

This engine ended up with 83mm pistons and cylinders. The original Volkwagen units just didn't make the cut. I had 77mm pistons, but no cylinders and for the cost of the cyliners alone, the 83mm kit was cheaper and also offered a bit more horsepower. This '65 engine originally had the square boss heads, which was the first year for them, and I reused most of the sheetmetal. Denver Metal Finishing did the plating and Performance Powercoating in Golden, Colorado did some fine work on the 60% black applied to the sheetmetal. They also applied the 'magnesium' colored ceramic finish to the muffler and heat exchangers. While I was simply going for a clean original effect, this engine definitely draws the positive comments.

As it's broken in, a leak has developed at the flywheel. This annoys me, so I'll probably go in and fix it sometime this winter. For now, we've also replaced the original distributor with an 010 distributor and I must say that the old boy does kick some butt! Almost feels like a 1600, when pulling away from a full stop. Not neck snapping, but definitely peppy. As it continues to break in, we'll try it on the Rockies to see what it's really made of.

So...I'm not just a Type 3/34 person. I really like all Volkswagens. I just like Karmann Ghias more.