All posts after July 2022 are about our Volkswagen Bus. Prior to that, all posts are about our 1965 356C coupe, Miss April. To view the different posts please look at the right side of your computer screen and see the months listed in order. Click on each month one at a time to see the activity.
A big hit for Willie Nelson, and also a happy event to be on the road again with our 1977 Volkswagen Transporter/Bus! We call her Lucy.
What started out as a repair (see the post directly before this one) turned mostly into a top end engine rebuild. The work is now complete, with the engine back in its place. The test drives have been strong and smooth.
Here is a brief description of what I did-
I am sure there is more that I have forgotten to list. This work took about 10 weeks, but the result is a smooth, strong engine.
After about 50 miles I will recheck valve clearances, and after something like 300 miles I'll change out the oil and filter.
Some photos and a video of the result are below.
Lucy is now On The Road Again!
In July we were pretty excited to get Lucy (our 77 VW Bus) home, and I gave it a good cleaning inside and out. Took it out for a couple of very short drives and the engine sound was just not right. Gave her a tune up and valve adjustment and sound did not go away. Then, suddenly, the sound got worse, and pulling off the valve cover on the drivers side revealed that the rocker arm for intake on #3 broke! Yes, in two pieces!
I knew the engine had to come out.
I found the valve seat for #3 intake had come loose, caused the valve not to close, and subsequently the valve struck the piston.
I cleaned the head in my soda blaster but in the photo above, you'll see there is also a crack at 11 o'clock coming from the exhaust valve. The head was not worth rebuilding. I found a source for a pair of good original VW 2.0L heads that were in a condition that could be rebuilt, and Northwest Connecting Rods rebuilt them for me.
In the meantime......
I removed everything from the engine, and it was filthy and then started the long process of cleaning, removing not only grease, but rust and then finally painting. I also bought a replacement piston and a rocker assembly to replace the damaged parts, as well as the pushrod for #3.
Some before/after photos below. Note the entire exhaust system was not wonderful. I removed the catalytic converter, and bought an NOS Leisteritz muffler. That horribly rusty thing in the photo below is a heat shield that goes above the muffler- it also is getting replaced.
Hopefully you can see some improvement in the photos below. I removed all of the pistons and they came out wonderful, and I borrowed a scale from John Brooks to balance them after cleaning. Below is a comparison photo showing one before cleaning and one after. Evapo-Rust was used on rusty pieces and the results were quite amazing.
I tried to take some after photos of most of the parts, but hard to get good focus on them all. Hopefully this represents how the parts generally came out.
I looked carefully inside the case and did not see any damage or wear, so the case was not split. I do not consider this an engine rebuild, it is just a repair.
I also borrowed from John his nice set of vials so I could cc the heads. My wife was kind enough to assist in this, as it definitely takes 4 hands.
Net result was the heads cc'ed at 53 cc's and the dish in the piston was 14 cc's, giving a total of 67 cc volume. The engine was still stock stroke and bore (94mm), and after measuring deck height I chose to get the gasket/shims to give me a compression ratio of 8.0
Trial assembly with clay showed good valve to piston clearance, and the heads are now torqued down in place.
Over the next few weeks I will receive all new gaskets, new bolts and copper nuts for the exhaust, the Leisteritz muffler, new motor mounts, and a few other goodies. I'll clean and carefully inspect the fuel injection, and hope to have the bus on the road next month.
If you've read the Section "Our Porsche Journey", you'll see we have owned not only air-cooled PORSCHE cars, but also VW. Back when we started raising a family, we needed more room than our 356 had, so we bought a 1971 Volkswagen Bus.
Now we need extra room for dogs, not kids! Solution, a 1977 Volkswagen Bus- the year we got married!
I'll later change this website around to split the PORSCHE portion from the Volkswagen portion, but for now here is an introduction to Lucy, our new to us VW bus.
I looked for a few characteristics:
Back on Easter Sunday I took Miss April for a drive through the tulip fields of Washington. They are all in close proximity to Mount Vernon, Washington. I took some photos and then headed to my daughters house.
Several photos of the fields came out nice, but it was hard to get the car in position for good shots because there were crowds of people enjoying the beautiful flowers. Some photos of the flowers were great, but the bright sunshine on the car didn't always make for a wonderful 356 shot.
One came out ok, and I sent it to the editor of the Registry magazine. It missed the magazine deadline by a couple of days, but it's in the current July/August issue, page 7.
It is sort of underwhelming seeing it in a small size and in print, so I thought I would try to show it here in full pixel, the scenery was so beautiful it's hard to describe. Brilliant colors and a beautiful day.
Hope you like the photo- If you click on the image, it'll enlarge.
Here is the magazine page. I appreciate them including it, but if you want to get a better view of the brilliant colors, click on the photo ABOVE and it will enlarge.
Seems like it has been raining here for months, but on Saturday morning, the sun poked out! Pulled Miss April into the local cars & coffee parking lot and enjoyed the banter with other "car guys".
Over the next couple of weeks I plan on working on getting the speaker cloth in and adding another rare accessory. More on that later.
By now, most of my 356 contacts know I am a complete originality freak. I really enjoy trying to get things exactly as they came from the factory. When something uber rare comes my way, it is a reason to celebrate!
One of the things that deteriorated quickly on the 356's was the original, factory installed speaker cloth that went over the metal speaker grills. The cloth was thin, and when sunlight hit the cloth, it quickly faded. It was not a cloth like now can be manufactured to withstand UV light nor any other elements. There is some very nice looking cloth available through a Registry member, but it is still not the same appearance as original. Nice substitute, but not perfect.
The Registry has a saying- Come for the cars, stay for the people. Today I can endorse that saying 100%
A wonderful 356 Registry friend just sent to me a nearly perfect condition pair of original speaker cloth used in late B and 356 C Blaupunkt speaker grills. The cloth was given to him by none other than Chuck Stoddard himself, and was in an unopened Blaupunkt installation kit Chuck had. The cloth was then briefly used in my friends car, and quickly removed when he carefully inspected it and found it had faded ever so slightly. No rips or tears, and only very slight fade in the material.
Although this person has a nice C car himself, he thought it would go great in Miss April, so he sent it to me,,,, free!
It arrived today, and all I can do is say how kind it is of that person to pass the cloth on for me to very carefully install!
Photos of the original cloth are below.
Thought this might be fun. Click on the image below and it will take you to a crossword puzzle I created that is all 356 related. Good luck!
A while ago I posted that I had acquired another original maroon PORSCHE catalog for my bookshelf. See: more-maroon-please.html
Well, I am at it again- sort of...
This time the book is rare, about PORSCHE, and maroon, but not a factory publication.
The book Excellence Was Expected by Karl Ludvigsen is a classic, to say the least. I have had the pleasure of owning a couple of First Edition issues,, but all of the previous books were the typical ones with the paper dust cover. When the book was first released there were a few, very limited versions with a genuine leather cover. The covers were either tan leather, or maroon leather. The books you see with black covers were a faux leather, and originally had the paper dust covers. Leather books were simply leather bound, no paper dust cover. Other differences, besides being quite rare, were the binding end of the books has gold embossed lettering, and the outward edges of the pages were also gold covered. This is not the case with the standard versions of the other books, including that the other First Edition books without the leather covers did not have this gold embossing.
I have now added a leather bound first edition/first printing leather bound Excellence Was Expected to my collection! Mine is not signed by Karl, but it is signed by Scott Bailey, making this book even more rare. Who's Scott Bailey? Publisher of the book, and President of Automobile Quarterly, as shown in the photos below.
Happy to have this book in the collection!
John Mellencamp recorded a fun song called Cherry Bomb a long time ago, but it's still a great listen. If you've forgotten the song, listen to it below while you look at the photos of Miss April on a neighbors driveway, bathed in cherry trees. A much different "cherry bomb", but I just couldn't resist the song reference. Hope you like the photos.
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