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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you guys know I am the Communications Director for the Chicago Volkswagen Organization. As such I also write the newsletter. I have an ongoing column called the "Wandering Mechanic". So I though you guys might like to read it. If you want I will post it every couple of months as the current newsletters go out.
So here goes:
Welcome to the Wandering Mechanic. Who is the Wandering Mechanic you ask? Well I am just a guy who has worked on all kinds if cars over the years, wandering from make to make finding all the good things about each car. But, then with the good must come the bad so the bad things about each car have come out also. It all started with my first car, a ’76 VW Rabbit. That car got me through college and beyond. Then I moved to the “wonderful world of the British car” that group could fill a whole decade worth of columns. In 1988 I moved back into the VW fold when the blessing of a new addition to my family arrived and the need for a 4-door car came to light. That car turned out to be a shinny Marine Blue Fox that I have owned since and it is presently the project at hand. The Fox is receiving a 2-liter conversion and that will be the topic of the next few columns. We will wonder thought the whole process from the original decision to make the conversion to the final stage when we will be able to start it and drive it to its first car event.
So, with that I will begin the story:
It all started when the Fox decided that it no longer needed the exhaust gasket on the #4 cylinder. I brought it to the shop and began the job of trying to get the manifold off the car. I don’t know if any of you have tried to do this, but this was a car with 157,000 miles on it and the bolts were not going to give up too easy. I soaked then in days of penetrating fluid and when the planets had arrived at the proper alignment I tried to remove then from the resting place that they so loved. Well what do you think happened? Some came out just fine, some came out with a little persuading, and some would just not give up at all. I did finally get all the nuts off but in the process I broke off three studs. These three studs are the fuel that began this whole sorted journey. To say that I had a hard time getting them out is an understatement. Well I can’t get to one of them because it is on the top and the intake is in the way, so off it comes. Thankfully it came off with no trouble. I was beginning to think I was home free. WRONG! This was where things took a real bad turn. I was trying to get the stubborn stud out with a pair of locking pliers and completely rounded the stud off and to make matters worse it broke off to an even shorter length and I could no longer get pliers locked on it. What to do now? I take a few days off from the project and sit down with a couple of beers to ponder my fate. My friends say “ just get rid of the car “ but I can’t do that to Speedy (my son’s name for the car) she has taken me all over this country, she has spent many sunny days at the race track, she has been on the race track, we have been through so much together. So I quickly remove that idea from my mind and give my machinist friend a call. Paul says to just take the head off and bring it over to the shop and he will get the stubborn stud out for me. So, I take the head off and get ready to take it to Paul and this is where the story takes its big turn. But, that is for the next installment of the Wandering Mechanic.
 

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Re: Thought you guys might like this........... (vwmann1)

/me stands, waits, whistles, taps foot with hands on hips whilst looking around.....waiting...growing impatiant....
YOU CAN'T MAKE US WAIT LIKE THIS!!!!!!!
*sigh*
/me wanders over to couch shuffling feet in a frustrated depression
 

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Re: Thought you guys might like this........... (HiJinx)

I never knew you had that car since it was new. If I had the dough I'd go out and buy a mini S for a fun car and drive the VW year round.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Thought you guys might like this........... (HiJinx)

Quote, originally posted by HiJinx »
/me stands, waits, whistles, taps foot with hands on hips whilst looking around.....waiting...growing impatiant....
YOU CAN'T MAKE US WAIT LIKE THIS!!!!!!!
*sigh*
/me wanders over to couch shuffling feet in a frustrated depression

OK....... here is the next one. I was going to wait for a while. It will be a month till the next one


Well where were we? So, I have just taken off the head to get the broken studs removed. Then I placed a call to Collin at TT to ask about cam upgrades, this is where things changed in a big way. So, we were talking about cams and what I wanted to do and then Collin says, “ Why don’t you just put in a 2-liter?” Then I ask, “Where do I get one from?” Collin then goes on to tell me what car’s engines I can use, what fuel injection and ignition mods I needed, which cam to use, and all the goodies I would need. We chatted a little more and then said good-bye. The next move I made was to call around to the local junkyards to see if I could find an engine and what it would cost. One of the yards foolishly quoted me $500 for a complete Audi 80 engine. My mind started working, my eyes started to blur, the room started to spin, and I blurted out “I’ll take it!” If I were to look back, this is the moment when my life changed, three little words that started the next chapter of this epic journey.
Well, the next step was to find a truck to transport the engine to my shop. Got that taken care of by begging a friend and promising all kinds of things I couldn’t deliver. When I got to the junkyard I was surprised to find that the junkyard guys had left all the manifolds and the bolt on stuff attached to the block. They had just pulled it out of the car and dumped it on the ground. This was great, now I didn’t have to source all the bolt on stuff, it came with it. Then I found out why junkyard guys are junkyard guys. The engine is sitting on the ground and these two guys just walked up to it and lifted it into the truck like it was nothing. That was something I knew my friends and myself was not going to do when it came time to take the engine out of the truck.
So, we got back to the shop and put the engine on the stand. I then took a step back and admired my new toy. Then the real work began. I completely disassembled the engine down to the bare block and surgically cleaned everything, bagged and labeled all the parts, and put the head and block along with everything needed by my machinist in the Jeep and headed off with a big smile on my face. The next time I was to talk to Paul he was going to tell me my engine was done and I should pick it up.
The phone call I actually got from Paul was not to tell me all was well. What he did tell me was the bores were ovaled too much and he thought it was best if I went to the next piston size, bored out the block, and got everything back to square one. No problem I thought. I’ll just get on the phone and order a new set of pistons. Well, the first place I called said fine they would get a set from Germany and send them out to me. Took a deposit and everything. Called them four weeks later to have them tell me they could not get me my pistons. Not the good news that I was looking for! What should I do next I asked myself? Get on the phone to Colin at TT I thought, after all he was the one who talked me into this whole idea. So the next day at work I got him on the phone and asked what should we do. He said he would make some calls and let me know.
The next time I talked to Colin he did not have good news. When he called Germany they told him there were none on the shelf and my piston was not scheduled to be cast for six months. SIX MONTHS! This was not the news that I wanted to hear. Well my butt was over the proverbial barrel so to speak, so I told him to order them and call me when they came in. We will pick up the story seven months from now. Yes, seven months.
Till next time,



Modified by vwmann1 at 11:58 PM 7-10-2003
 

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Jesus, you are one patient man, Had they told me that I would have gone off the deep and and probably wired the whole block with AMEX and walked away. I admire your determination http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: (Klutched)

Next installment of the Wandering Mechanic:
SEVEN MONTHS! That is two summer vacations, a baseball season, winter in Wisconsin, I think you get the point. That is how long I had to wait until Germany returned from vacation and got around to casting my pistons.
It was a great day when Randy called me and told me the pistons were in. It was an even better day when the pistons arrived by UPS. I was waiting at the door to sign for them. I then promptly got in the Jeep and took them over to Paul and said, “Start the work!” I had to wait about another month for everything to be machined and balanced properly. Then the best day and the worst day of all came. I say the best because Paul called me to tell me my engine was ready, it was also the worst day because he also informed me how large of a check I was going to have to write to get it all back.
So, with all the parts in hand, I started the loving process of assembling the engine. I enjoy this part very much. It is a great sense of accomplishment to see the engine come together. All the pieces are clean and shinny. The block got a new coat of paint, so it looked as good as new. The pistons gleamed as they sat on the bench waiting to be assembled. The head also received a new coat of paint, would be a great complement to the block when it was put on. You would think that this love fest was going great wouldn’t you? Well, it wouldn’t be a good story if there weren’t a little turmoil. Here is where it happened. I had assembled the pistons and rods to be inserted in the block. I was going to get a new ring compressor but the clock was ticking so I decided to use my old one. BIG MISSTAKE! When I was pushing the fist piston assembly into the block the compressor broke just as I was giving it the last tap into the bore. Everything went solid, and my heart sank. So I pushed the assembly out of the block to make sure everything was O.K. What I saw gave me shivers. One of the rings had expanded and bent one of the groves that it sits in. I thought no problem I will just bend it back and keep on working. Wrong, when I tied to bend it back the brittle mature of cast metal came into play and it broke off. To say a few bad words came out of my mouth was an understatement. You see, you can’t just buy one piston, they are only sold in sets of four. Good thing Tectonics had ordered more than one set when they ordered mine. I wrote another check and now I have three pistons sitting on the shelf to remind me of that mistake. After I bought a new ring compressor everything went together smoothly and I had a complete engine. Next time we will talk about the gray Jetta.
 
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