Monday, May 5, 2008

My first valve adjustment...

This past Sunday, instead of going to a NorCal Bus Fest in Vallejo, I decided to do some work on the actual bus. The first thing I wanted to do was a valve adjustment. Something VW owners are familiar with and have probably done often. This was my first time doing it. My first stop was for two new valve cover gaskets and some glue at Viking Foreign Auto Parts, in Novato. This place is a VW mecca with all sorts of cool parts hanging on the wall. After leaving there, I stopped at Kragen for some wheel bearing grease to put on the head side of the gaskets when installing.

Ready to go.

Take off the distributor cap to check top dead center of the valves.

I won't walk you through the step by step, but it went well and was, as every VW owner who has done one says, pretty easy. The whole thing took me about an hour, but I was reading the Muir Book the whole time and triple-checking my work.

The passenger side valve cover.

The valves exposed (cover off). On the right the first two are for the first cylinder. The left 2 are the 2nd cylinder. The right is the front of the vehicle. I am underneath the back, passenger side.

Bad picture, but you can see the feeler gauge checking the gap.

Valve cover, cleaned of the old gasket.

New gasket glued on. I put a thin coat of wheel bearing grease on the face of the gasket that you see there.

Back where it started.

I also decided to take care of something else I had been meaning to do - remove the water tank from under the back-facing seat (right behind the driver's seat).

I had the hack saw the drain off since there was nothing to unscrew.

This is the old water storage tank that I removed...

...from here. Years of road grim is what you see there. That hole where the dirt is is where the drain went through.



Nice work on doing your own valves. There's no turning back now: you are fully-fledged ACVW owner/operators.
I still triple check my work when I do Ludwig's valves, and I've been adjusting old Volksie valves for half of my life (17 years)!


.004" intake, .006" exhaust - I remember those adjustments well (at least those are the numbers I used). VW's are a pleasure to work on. Sorry about the front left wheel bearing. I used to clean them all, including the CV joints - talk about a mess. Wait till you do the real wheel bearings: the axles take a sledge hammer to remove.

Big Blue's Driver

Thanks for the encouragement. This coming weekend I want to learn how to test the compression and the timing. I grew up around cars and have owned several older than me, but never has it seemed so accessible as the bus does. Now, if I can only get a bigger garage...

Ludwig's Drivers

I just noticed in this post that you have your fuel filter inside the engine compartment. Please please please please please please please please do Big Blue a favor and put it between the tank and the pump, outside of the engine compartment, lest he become a statistic. Please.

Ludwig's Drivers

This is the way I understand it: All things being equal (i.e. you're using proper fuel hose and clamps), the weakest points in the fuel system are where hosing gets clamped onto something. As it stands, Big Blue has six clamps in the line; one outbound from the tank, one inbound to the pump, one outbound from the pump, one inbound to the filter, one outbound from the filter, one inbound to the carb.
Now imagine that Big Blue's fuel line fails at one of these clamps: (1)Tank outbound--probably not a real big deal as the gas runs to the ground and the fuel-starved engine dies after the fuel in the carb is gone. (2)Fuel pump inbound--bad, as gas runs out into the engine compartment until the line is empty. (3)Fuel pump outbound--bad, as Big Blue's (mechanical) fuel pump runs as long as the engine turns. As the carb runs the engine out of gas, the still-running pump is spraying gas all over into the engine compartment.(4)Fuel filter inbound--same as (3). (5)Fuel filter--same as (3). (6)Inbound to carb--same as (3).
Some of these situations are unavoidable as given that the carb and pump have to be in the engine compartment. Well, not the pump if you mount an electric one somewhere else, but that's why you inspect these fittings often and replace defective hoses/clamps immediately. HOWEVER, you can easily control where the fuel filter is. So the idea is to eliminate situations (4) and (5) above, thus reducing the number of clamps in the fuel line whose failure results in fuel spraying on the hot parts and the electrified parts (distributor caps are NOT sealed tight--there's a lot of sparking going on in your running engine) of the engine. Add to that that the fuel filter is the most fiddled with component in the series and therefore the most susceptible to error. Therefore you want it upstream of the pump, so the failure of one of its clamps results in some gas on the ground and the engine dies as it runs out of gas in the carb, its pump pumping nothing.
As an added bonus, in this position it will collect particulate matter (re: rust) from Big Blue's 40 year-old gas tank before said particulate matter ends up plugging up the pump's own internal filter. It's 10x easier to replace the fuel filter than to remove the pump and clean out its filter.

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