Friday, February 2, 2018

Quality Time with Winston, Part 3.

It used to be easier.  Once upon a time you could just about walk into a VW shop in the morning, buy your parts sight unseen and assemble a stock engine that afternoon that lasts 100K miles.  I suppose you could try that now, but you'd probably grenade the thing on your first weekly grocery run, assuming you could develop enough torque and/or horsepower to move the car.  Parts quality amounts to financial Russian-roulette and absolutely sucks out loud.  All hyperbole aside, venting about parts issues does make me feel marginally better, but I'm done with complaining and it's really time to get on with a progress report.

The real problem is my postage stamp sized garage.  I need an honest to gosh workshop, really.  Somewhere to significantly spread out.  Having two cars on the skids simultaneously is just one car too many.  2016 involved trying to fix one of them and my efforts resulted in abject failure.  Failure is opportunity, but opportunity doesn't arrive until there is something called time--and until recently time has been in extremely short supply.  But I'll first detail the failure.

I built Winston's new 1385 40HP based engine and it initially ran just fine.  The aftermarket fuel pump failed during run-in, so I was gravity feeding gasoline and swearing for about 15 minutes, trying to keep the RPMs up above 2000.  This drama behind me, I put the original fuel pump back on the car.  Then the rebuilt carb started acting up--and this was no mongrel rebuild.  I replaced the rebuilt carb with a new EMPI replacement carb to temporarily solve that induction issue.  The second induction issue involved two cracks in the 40HP intake manifold.  I had two other used intake manifolds, but no one could unblock the heat risers so really had no ready solution for that issue.  Then, there was a suspect spark, so I replaced the spark plugs and coil.  Success!  Could there be anything else?  Certainly, because when I started it the next day it developed a nasty knocking sound when dead cold, somewhere in the vicinity of Cylinder #1.  I took the pushrods for #1 out and the knock went away.  I changed out the rockers and pushrods for some stock parts and that knock was still there.  I noticed the knock diminished a little as the engine warmed up--but a knock is a knock.  Lots of power.  A real smooth runner.  With a knock.  Great.  Just...freaking...great.

I stepped away from the whole situation for about a week.  The only thing I could think of was to go through the valve train again.  It didn't seem like the problem was rooted in there because the knock seemed deeper--but not at the crank.  Honestly, the source of noise was hard to determine, but I was starting to feel that the problem was piston related.  In researching the issue online, I ran across a thread on der Samba regarding a similar issue another guy was having with his 40HP big bore rebuild.  He had used AA pistons in his engine and had to move the pistons around to get the noise to subside.  That's crap!  At that moment all I wanted was all those Chinese parts gone from my engine.  My mission defined, I pulled the engine and tore it down.  Along the way, I found absolutely nothing wrong.  Nothing...unless you think a mess of essentially new engine components strewn all over my workbench nothing.  The whole thing was a waste of time, with no obvious destruction.  Disappointing.  No bent rods.  Pistons and cylinders look like new,  What the HECK?

I let a couple of months pass, but early in November 2016 a mad plan emerged.  I'd use the narrowed 40HP rods I've had sitting around forever in the basement on the 69mm counter weighted crank that I've also had forever in the basement, along with a new Mahle 40HP 83mm big bore kit I sourced online.  This same source had a pair of dual port European 1300 heads, which I had rebuilt with single heavy duty springs and retainers.  I then had RIMCO build me an 8 dowel O-ring 200mm stock weight flywheel with a 6V ring gear.  I also bought a pressure plate and had them balance both parts together.  Engle W100 cam and lightweight Bugpack lifters, which are said to be compatible.  I sent the engine case, crank, rods and bearings to Painters Grinding for case clearancing and a doghouse cooling conversion.  I bought a Kadron dual carb set and a Vintage Speed muffler.  Engine cooling sheet metal was then an issue, but I had a plan for that, too.  I thought it would be a cool and potentially reversible build if it didn't work out.  I had a very nice dual relief case handy that I could use on another replacement engine--but that was not the objective!  I wanted to use the original engine case.  Other than the dual carbs, I wanted the engine to look a bit Vintage Speed.

I started the engine mockup.  I found some new motivation and really got a kick out of what was happening.  After Painters Grinding clearanced the case for the counterweighted crank, it fit great--but that was only part of what I wanted to accomplish.  Since the engine was now a "stroker motor", this meant that I was going to need some cylinder base spacers to correctly set the engine dimensions and compression ratio.  I'm went for 8.0 to 1 with this 1500 engine.  I determined initially that the spacer size needed was 3.85mm.  Since the "stroker crank" takes the pistons into the case the same amount, I quickly determined that a similar amount of case material will need to be removed from the internal case webbing so the piston skirts clear.  As I measured things, I found that A LOT of material would need to be removed.  Maybe so much that the webbing at the flywheel side of the case would become quite thin and need some welding.  Ugh...what to do with that?

I guess a few words about the available 83mm pistons are in order.  First, when AA chose to 'knock off' their 40HP 'Big Bore' piston and cylinder kit, they chose the dimensions of the latest version of the Mahle kit to do so.  They are perfect copies and a lot of people are having really good luck with them for their builds.  The side skirts are very long on these pistons and I found that they required an extreme amount of skirt clearancing to make them work with the counterweighted crank.  I also knew that all four case spigots would have to be cleared a little even with a stock 64mm 40HP Crank.  I'm not adverse to performing this work, but I didn't want to weaken the case any more than the ravages of engine run time, overheating and machining had already done over the years.  Also, I didn't want to remove so much piston skirt that the pistons prematurely collapsed.  There just had to be another way...and it turns out that I had it readily available in my stash of 40HP parts in the basement in the form of a vintage set of Cofap 40HP Big Bore pistons and cylinders.  Used, sure--but potentially usable.

The older style Cofap 40HP big bore 83mm kit pistons have raised side skirts--at least 2mm--with a 2mm longer slipper skirt when compared with the Mahle/AA pistons.  I measured them up to use with the new Mahle cylinders and found everything within spec.  I already knew the Mahle piston pins would work, so I really only had to concentrate on verifying the cylinder spacer thickness so I would only end up having to have one set of cylinder shims made.  I later discovered that I could get these shims pre-made from AA directly and ordered up a variety so I could precisely set up compression.  Great--it was then time to build.  Everything went together well until I got to the head studs.  The '65 engine came with factory case savers, but no deep set #3 stud.  All studs were 10mm threads.  I found the 4 shorter inner head studs to use with the dual port heads and the engine went together pretty much like any 1600.  That is--until I got to the rocker assembly setup.

Stock VW rocker assemblies use spring washers and wire retainer clips to hold the rockers on the rocker shaft.  I wanted solid shaft rockers because of the additional valve spring pressure of the heavy duty springs due to the mild cam.  Additionally, swivel feet or elephant feet rocker studs don't necessarily fit without changing the rocker geometry to a point where angles are extreme and promote unnatural wear to valve train components.  Also, custom length pushrods are often required to help restore a more natural rocker geometry.  All of this has been discussed endlessly everywhere, but I've not had to deal with it much until this engine.  Suffice it to say that much time, money and colorful language were required to bring things into line and the efforts were well worth it.  The 1.1 to 1 VW rockers are custom, Porsche elephant feet valve adjusters were used, solid rocker shafts were used, and custom length heavy duty aluminum pushrods were built.  Lots of fun.

The next round of challenges involved the sheet metal.  I decided to run an aftermarket 36 HP fan shroud with provisions for the dog house oil cooler.  I found a guy on der Samba selling oversized Hoover Bits that fit these crappy aftermarket shrouds, and got one.  I also bought a set of aftermarket dual port top cylinder tins, and front and rear tin.  All of this needed modification, particularly the top cylinder tins because the engine is narrower than a regular 1600.  I had to trim over 1/4" of metal off the inboard side on each, plus break loose the spot welds at the outer sides of this tin so that the fan shroud could fit into the openings.  Some welding was done, and then it all went off to the powder coaters.  Turned out great!  I did need to drill two more small holes in the fan shroud to mount the Berg linkage and coil, but I'm pretty happy with the visual results.  It definitely has the vintage vibe to it!


I chose Kadron carburation and a stainless Vintage speed exhaust.  My wife wanted the pea shooter exhaust style to help maintain the original look with the engine bay closed.  I ordered it directly from Taiwan with the dual O2 bungs installed so I could do some tuning.  I am so glad I did because I am going to have to use them in the coming weeks to get the Kadron's dialed in properly.  The challenge in a Ghia is that the air cleaners are 4 inches high and won't clear the rear decklid springs.  So, I had to come up with the 2 inch air cleaner solution you see here.  They are real K&N filter elements encased in the Kadron top and bottom covers, with two layers of stucco backer screen wrapped around the elements for better looks.  The Kadrons themselves are a reasonably simple carb that use very familiar and readily available Solex jets.  For various reasons, I found I already have quite a selection of main and idle jets to choose from.  The engine is running way too rich and we live in Denver, so I'm not too surprised that this is an issue.  But it's really bad for engine break-in, so after about 70 miles the car is off the road until some baselining can be done.  For example, I installed a fuel pressure regulator and have adjusted the carb fuel pumps.  I may need to change the idle jets.  I might use an 019 distributor instead of the 010.  Or, maybe even a 009.  There's a nice reproduction vintage speed cast iron 009 clone out there that looks the part.  Or, I might have a vacuum port installed into the left carb so I can try a '64 Type 3 cast iron ZV/JCU 4 R3.  We'll see--because there's a significant flat spot that needs to be addressed and apparently the Kadrons like a lot of vacuum assist in the ignition advance curve.  As I work with the air/fuel meter I'll probably have my decision made for me.

Now...this is supposed to be a Type 34 blog and I realize that I'm going on and on about a Type 14 and my travails with it, but it's still a Ghia and it's in our family.  I decided to only run one blog and if I spend an appreciable amount of time on the car, I should probably document that somewhere.  In addition, Winston is only one model year newer than the Nautilus so a lot of little oddities are shared across the two Ghia types.  Besides...I can't work on the Nautilus until Winston is complete.  Need to keep peace in the household and should be able to have at least one Ghia roadworthy.  I will be back to building the Nautilus very soon.  Finally and importantly, lessons learned on Winston may have applicability to engine work on the Nautilus.  I'm once again very motivated for both projects!

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