I made the decision not to do any powder coating on the engine. I'm not against powder coating, in fact I used it on all the black metal pieces of my last engine and thought it came out great. The process was simple too. I just dropped off the dirty/greasy pieces and then came back in a week after the parts had been media blasted and coated in a black sheen that was really close to the original. Wrote a check and was done.
My obsession with originality will not allow me to do that this time. I want to get the trim to look like it was done at the factory, complete with a few paint runs, some slight orange peel in a few spots, and wear and fade just like the original stuff. I know,,,, nuts.
This weekend I cleaned all the black tin pieces and ran into a couple of unexpected things. The first was the existence of a wire mesh filter in the bottom section of the passenger side air filter can (housing). This would only be found on 356 C cars, and it is inside the inlet that comes from the oil filler can. From having owned 912's in the past I knew there was one in the 912 filler can as it exits for the air filter, but on 356C, this wire mesh filter is inside the air filter housing- passenger side only. My drivers side can is the same construction and has provisions for this filter, but none is installed. The drivers side tube is left hollow, and there is a plastic cap blocking it off.
To inspect this mesh I first tried to look through the filter with light- no light made it through! Next I held the can on its side and sprayed electrical contact cleaner into the mesh filter. The spray did not go through, instead pooling on the top. That is not good!
I looked carefully and poked around to see if I could get the filter out, but without damaging the element, that was not going to happen. This passage must be free because the 356C has unvented valve covers, so this is the only path for engine venting. Next effort was the use of compressed air. After using 120 PSI I got the flashlight out again and still could not see light through from one side to the other. Hmm,,, got the garden hose and sprayed in there and a small stream came through, slowly getting better and better. Back to more contact cleaner and going through this process several times I finally got a good flow.
Lesson- If you have a 356C, check yours out because it is important that your engine be able to vent.
The second thing that surprised me was the date stamps on the air filter cans. They were very very faint, and difficult to see. Being the nutcase who once wrote an article on manufacturing date codes, I wanted to preserve these stamps. I started to sand the entire filter can, and to my dismay, the date stamps vanished! Seems the small impression of the date stamp was full of paint, and when I lowered the surrounding paint level to that of the date stamp, it was not showing because the paint was leveled out by all the sanding.
That would not be ok for me, so I needed a solution. Out came the Dremel. Photos are below.
Man, taking all this stuff to the powder coater sure would have been easier....
Notice in the top left photo the lousy o-ring. This is where the air filter housing rests on top of the carburetor. Mine is in dire need of replacement.
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