Just Another Type 3 Blog

    August 31, 2003

    It's ALIVE! Well, it’s running, and I can’t believe it. I finished hooking up the rest of the fuel injection connections, put on the new ignition wires (used a little of that dielectric grease) and and then went to reconnect the battery so I could time the engine. No juice. I guess I expected that since the battery had been sitting since April, but I had forgotten about it. I took a trip over to AutoBarn and picked up a 10 amp battery charger. I only had to charge it a couple hours, and during that time I did some more tidying work, like attaching the air cooling bellows, filling the oilbath air filter, put oil in the engine, took out the seatbelts so I can wash them, etc. When the battery looked like it was holding a charge, I put it back in and turned on the ignition to set the timing. It was at this point that I realized that the fuel pump was staying on, even though the engine wasn’t running. I suddenly had a pretty scary gasoline leak on the left side of the engine. I turned off the key and found out the leak was coming from one of the injectors. It didn’t appear to be coming from the hose, as it was all dry. The injectors were both soaked. I replaced the one that seemed to be leaking the worst, and put the injectors back on the engine. Turned the key and the other one was still leaking. It looked like it was actually leaking at the point where the plastic part of the injector meets the lower body part. I took my second NOS injector and replaced the leaking one with it. No more leaks… At least on that side. There was a slow leak on one of the right injectors, and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving that as it was. It seemed like it was leaking in the same place. I took one of the injectors I got in Connecticut on Tuesday and tried it. No leaks.

    Setting the timing turned out to be fairly difficult as sometimes I’d turn the distributor and the light wouldn’t go on. Plus, the vacuum canister was hitting the generator. Eventually I opened up the distributor cap and made sure the points were opening and closing correctly. They were. I got to a point where I didn’t turn the distributor so much as try to make sure the light went on when I turned the engine past TDC. It took a while, but eventually I got it. I was still missing the oil breather hose, but I thought I could try to start it up. My wife and stepson had brought me dinner, so they came out to see if it would start or not. I turned the key, and it started immediately! Victoria and Christian were soon in a fog of grey smoke, so I turned off the car, eventually turning it back on to rev the engine up and down a little, like they say to do when you first start one of these engines.

    Needless to say, I’m quite amazed that it started. I remember I used to have problems starting my go-kart when I was a kid, and engines used to always seem like this big, unlearnable thing for me. I know this is probably only the beginning, and hopefully I won’t be driving down the road someday and learn the hard way that I made a mistake somewhere, but for now, five months after I first picked up the car, I’m celebrating one small victory.

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    August 30, 2003

    Started getting everything set in its proper place before the attempt will be made to start the engine. I was reading through the Bentley manual the other night and realized that I had assembled the rocker arms incorrectly. I had put the metal ring that the rocker arm bolts go through on upside-down. It was a good thing I had to take them off anyway, as I noticed I had also forgotten the seals that go on the rocker bolts. I also picked up a pack of white lithium grease and put a little on the pushrods as the manual suggested. Torqued everything down, then adjusted the valves again. When I went to turn the engine 360 degrees to do the other side, the engine would not turn. Eventually I realized it was probably because of the torque converter bolts not being put in. I got underneath the car and aligned the drive plate with the torque converter and felt something clunk into place. I had put a scratch on the drive plate and the torque converter itself so that I could line it up again when I put it all back together. I could hardly see it, but I think I got it in the right spot. I also finished connecting up the heater hoses and the vacuum hose for the auto transmission. While I was under there I also tightened up that last transmission/engine bolt, the left top one (which did, in fact, work infinitely better when the car was on a lift and when I had a long extension on the ratchet). After that I started reconnecting the FI harness and installed the new engine lid seal, which looks much cooler than the tattered bits of rubber that were there before.

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    August 28, 2003

    Engine Back In! Haven’t written here in a bit… Running behind. Got a lot of work down this past weekend, since the weather was incredibly beautiful and my boss didn’t call me in. I finally secured up the exhaust, heater boxes and everything else and got the engine back in. It was quite a job doing it by myself, but with the help of some bricks, a decent jack from Sears, a lot of patience and a block of wood, I got everything lined up properly and pushed the engine in place. I got the nuts onto the transmission/engine bolts and then readjusted everything, including the engine hanger bolts, before snugging everything up. I still have that one upper bolt on the driver’s side to do though, the one that nearly killed my wrists for good last time. I have no idea how I’m supposed to get a proper torque reading on that one when I can barely get to it.

    I still have to hook up the torque converter bolts to the drive plate, and also have to figure out a way to get one clamp on between the right-side heater box and the heat exchanger. Maybe I’ll get a wider clamp. I also need to get some kind of rubber innertube to seal the cooling elbow on the left side of the engine. The one that was there was completely disintegrated. The right one still looks good, even if it is slightly cracked. I also have to get some more tubing to hook up the vacuum connection to the automatic transmission. I forgot to order that, but I did get some other parts overnighted to me so I’ll have them for the weekend — new tin screws, an engine lid seal, bellows clamps, and a couple other small things. Depending on whether or not I forgot anything, I might be trying to start the car by the end of next weekend. That’s a scary thought. Luckily it’s a three-day weekend (Labor Day). Wonder if I’ll have to go in to work at all? Hopefully not.

    Tidying Up I took Tuesday off to go up to Connecticut and pick up some free Type 3 leftovers. Met a cool guy named Conley who was trying to clean up his garage space. He was more into Type 2’s and “Things” and had ditched his Type 3, so I got a set of four side glass panels, a steering box, a muffler in pretty decent shape, two headlights, a trim ring, two fuel injectors (don’t know if they work), some fuel ring parts, four hubcaps, a license plate bracket… Hmmm… That’s about it… Gave the guy $20 for it all and hauled it away. Got a nice big rubbermaid box in the deal too, and now have a place for my extra set of heads from my car, along with the extra engine tin.

    I’ve decided to sell my OEM parcel tray, since I don’t really like it. I’d rather have a clean interior with nothing to hit my feet or knees on. When pushing the brake pedal, I seem to hit the top of the package tray with my sneaker. I dunno… We’ll see. I’ll take some pics of it, maybe remove it, and then post it on the Samba.

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    August 20, 2003

    Had to bring my stepson to the orthodontists yesterday, plus I wasn’t feeling that great so I decided to take the day off. Toward the afternoon my energy was starting to return, so I thought I’d head over to the in-laws to work on the car. The weather was beautiful, and I ended up working for quite a few hours putting things back together. It sure is nice to have more room to work on things now that the engine is coming together and I no longer have parts lying all over the place.

    I took apart the rocker arm assemblies and cleaned them, then pretty much doused everything in motor oil and put it all back together. I decided to adjust the valves while I had easy access to everything and finally realized that TDC for cylinder one is right around the notch mark on the distributor. That’s certainly nice to know for the purposes of timing, wiring the ignition cables and for the next time I have to adjust the valves. One less thing to figure out. I also sliced my knuckles pretty good somehow while taking off the old valve adjustment screws and replacing them with new ones. I guess I should take out that pair of mechanics gloves that are sitting in the trunk and use them once in a while. I pretty much don’t wear them for two reasons. The first is that I like to actually feel what I’m doing, and the second is that I imagine they’d be caked with grease and oil the moment I started working on the engine. Oh yeah, that brings me to another concern… Dirt… I’m trying to keep everything as clean as possible during reassembly, but I really wonder how much dirt I’m getting in everything, especially since I’m basically rebuilding this engine outside? My paranoid side is going to make me change the oil twice in very quick intervals as soon as Wilson is running again. The first will get changed before I actually go anywhere, after the engine is running somewhat well, and I’ll probably change it again after a few miles… Maybe only back to the inspection station and back. I hope that will lessen any problems I have with dirt. I did, though, make sure to keep the spark plug and air intake holes on the heads plugged with paper towels, and made sure to keep any dirt away from them. I imagine anything that gets in there anyway will go out the exhaust though.

    So after taking care of the rocker arms, I put on the oil cooler, and was a little worried about the torque I was putting on the bolts. I used the green seals I got from Jim Adney, and the Bentley manual confirmed that I should put those seals in without any spacers, and I torqued it down. Even though I was within the specified torque range, some of the metal scraped up from the oil cooler when I tightened the bolts down. That was a little disconcerting, as the assembly manual I was using did NOT have any washers noted between the bolts and the oil cooler housing. Hopefully they’re OK. I will be paying strict attention to any signs of overheating when I start the engine. Along those lines, I think my thermostat is broken. It’s extended the full length of the bracket it fits in, meaning the engine cooling flaps will always be open. I figured it wasn’t a problem, so rather than leave the thermostat out and leave the flap linkage just hanging there, I partially screwed in the thermostat so that the flaps were open all the way. I suppose if it gets down to freezing, the thermostat might contract, which would close the flaps, but for right now in 80 degrees (which I can’t imagine is hot by any stretch), the flaps are open and will stay open. I’ll be sure to double-check those too as I put a dab of white-out on the cooling flaps crossbar so I can tell just by a glance whether the flaps are open or closed. I didn’t have any white lithium grease for the pushrods either, so I just dunked the ends in motor oil and hopefully that will be fine. I can’t imagine the grease stays on there long anyway. I’ll get a second opinion on this.

    After putting on all the cooling tin, the engine is starting to look a little more legitimate now. Saturday is supposed to be very nice, so I suppose it’s possible that I’ll have everything back together by Sunday. After that, I have to fix the remaining parts of the fuel system — filler neck and removal of the carbon filter setup — before I fill up the car and try to start it. I still can’t imagine that I could be driving this car soon. After it’s running, all I really have to do I think is the brakes. Which reminds me… I think I realized what that “popping” sound was because it happened again on Sunday. My floor jack has a lift plate that is notched crosswise, and I think the popping sound was just the car’s jack extension “falling” into that notch. I jack the car up by the little extension that is normally used for the factory jack, so it’s not a perfect fit. So the upshot of all this is that hopefully I don’t have any major suspension work in my future after I get everything else done.

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    August 17, 2003

    Putting On New Heads Finally got a chance to go work on Wilson again. What a messy job it is putting an engine back together. I think it’s messier than pulling it apart. Lots of spreading of oil, sealer, and other stuff. I was pretty surprised how well everything came back together. I hope everything seals properly. I put on the pushrod tubes dry, with new seals. No Permatex. I used just a little sealer on the cylinders where they go into the case, but that was it. Torqued everything down and it was raining by that point, so I put everything back in the car and left. I’m missing a piece of cooling tin, the tiny piece that goes on the bottom around the air intake distribution manifold where it connects to the head. I’ll see if someone on the list might have one. Things are finally starting to come together. I’m still quite nervous though. It’s going to be a real struggle getting everything back in I think. Trying to line everything up while I maneuver the jack & match the engine to the transmission. I’m most concerned about the heating ducts & hoses though, as it’s the thing I paid the least attention to while I was taking everything apart. Hopefully I’ll take a day off from work this week to do some more work. Just waiting for a nice day.

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