Friday, January 20, 2012

Week in review - A rundown on all 3 beasts...

It's been a while since I gave a real honest update about the 3 VWs currently making up the scene here at the homestead. I thought I would get back to a little good old fashioned blogging after the "blackout" we did to fight SOPA earlier this week (thanks for putting up with that, but I felt it was important). So, let's run through these, shall we?  

The Green Hornet (1956 VW Bug)

The last time we left our hero The Green Hornet, he had just had his crap-filled gas tank removed in some late night work while Oak and EP were out of town. Normally come December no work gets done around here as I have grown into a wimp when it comes to weather. A little rain and a little cold and I stay inside with a bottle of wine and a book and wait out our "winter". But not this year! Winter has been a mild warmth that actually makes me uneasy late at night. And, while this weather is odd in a freakishly "yes, global warming is real and this is the last year of your happy little life so enjoy it" sort of way, The Green Hornet is the recipient of good fortune of global warming as it has received many late night advancements.

Good fortune #1: below  is a picture of the rear brakes on the replacement axle for The Green Hornet. This is the before picture...

If you look close, you can see dead spiders. Seriously! This transaxle replaces the tranaxles (2) bought along with TGH. Apparently, both of those were shot. So Paul at Valley Wagonwerks is a cool enough cat to deliver an extra one he had to my house. He and his absolutely positive influence of a wife stopped by and dropped one off in the fall. And this new transaxle has become the foundation for a new refreshed transaxle replacement. All parts are stripped being cleaned, painted and replaced...

Good fortune #2: Axle tubes getting painted...

Good Fortune #3: A continued cleaning of all things engine related...

Alright, so the transaxle is good. So what to do with the engine?

Several things have had me hung up over the past few months.

1. I absolutely could not remove the outer shroud tin that the generator connects to from the fan. This was one of the last pieces in the 2nd set of items to be sandblasted and powdercoated. I had a back and forth conversation with this rather large bolt holding these pieces together. At first, it was all like, here's a big wrench and some pipe. But the bolt said no. Then I bought a bench vice. But it was a crappy one that you mounted with hand cranks and I literally torn a piece of the vice out trying to wrench on it. The bolt was like - f-you, man. THEN, I spent the $40 on a good bench vice, drilled holes and mounted it correctly. I placed the generator in the vice and got out my pipe/wrench combo. It looked like this:

And it worked in about 3 seconds!

2. The distributor is stuck. I cannot, for everything I tried, get it out. Any ideas?

3. I removed the heads. This is the furthest I have gone into an engine and I must come clean; I am a little scared. The biggest question I have is, now what? I took the heads off. I'm not sure I want to go further? But what can I look for at this point? I asked the question on and have had no responses. Below is the naked pistons of the 36 horse that powers The Green Hornet...

Little Blue: The '63 Bug

The Green Hornet and Little Blue are separated by a thin wall, but the current difference is vast.

Little Blue, with her replaced engine, continues to be a workhorse commuter car, logging an average of 80 miles a day! Things are still off with her: missing doorpanel, radio doesn't work, no turn signals and yesterday the passenger side windshield wiper loosened enough to no longer turn. This however has not been enpugh to topple Little Blue from the pedistal I have put her on. I call that pedistal, "the best car I have ever owned".

Big Blue - '68 bus

After taking several beatings, Big Blue is back on the road! We picked him up last Saturday from Valley Wagonworks and it was great to be back behind the wheel. I fired up some tunes and 5 minutes into the drive felt like I had never been without Blue.

Next up for Blue is finishing the paint work on the front end and, when it warms up, putting in a new wood floor in the back. For now, the big goal is bURNING vAN which is tomorrow at Ocean beach in SF. With any luck, Big Blue will be there with curtains on!



B - About your cylinder heads: I am doing about the same thing with the engine out of my bus, complete teardown and rebuild. The heads were pretty grimey, and I've found oven cleaner works pretty well as a starting point. Spray it on and let it sit for a bit, then scrub with a toothbrush, rinse & repeat. You need to get them clean so you can inspect them for any cracking around the spark plug holes and valves, etc. "How to Rebuild Your Volkswagen Engine" by Tom Wilson is a great read for us non-mechanic types.

Big Blue's Driver

m- thanks for the tip. i used oven cleaner on the manifold. I just went an bought some more for the heads. I also have that book and will read it on a flight I have this week. Thanks!


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