Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Engine Removal

You may be asking yourself: why pull the engine? The answer to that starts with worn piston rings and the first maiden road trip to Santa Fe.

Shortly after we bought the bus, we made plans to drive down to Santa Fe with our two daughters, our dog and a Bus full of camping stuff. The drive down went reasonably well, but we were getting oil spray on the back of the bus. And of course what should have been a 6 hour drive turned into a 10 hour drive. SLOW. Regardless, we arrived.

On the way home, the Bus started to lose power, smoke started exiting the tail pipe, and a constant tat-tat-tat noise was coming from the engine compartment. We limped home from Trinidad to Denver but had a long, slow, hot day doing so.

I parked the Bus in the garage, pulled out my compression gauge and found the following compression results:

Cylinder 1: 107 psi
Cylinder 2: 103 psi
Cylinder 3: 90 psi
Cylinder 4: 60 psi

Stock compression results should be in the 120-130 range with little variation between each cylinder (there are exact numbers and percentages, but I'm not trying to be specific, just general). My results suggested either extremely worn piston rings or a broken ring. Either way, the required fix involved dropping and removing the engine.

So I did.

Getting prepped.

Laying out the tools and starting to dismantle. I followed Richard Atwell's engine removal article and had very few hick-ups along the way.

One last look.

Parts are slowly coming off.

You don't need too many tools when working on an aircooled VW.

Here's the pile of exhaust parts, heater boxes, engine cooling tin and other random bits creating a big heap along the fence.

The actual removal of the engine once the various lines and wires were diconnected and removed went relatively smoothly considering this was my first time doing it. With the help of a neighbor, we pulled the engine in about 3 hours (not including the disconnection of all the parts before getting to bellhousing bolts and engine mount support bar). We ran into difficulty accessing the torque converter to flexplate bolts and couldn't find details about where to access them; lots of stuff about removing the three bolts but not much on how/where (and no, I don't have a Bentley repair manual; I know, shame on me).

We ended up pulling the engine WITH the torque converter still attached to the flexplate; a lot more difficult due to tight spaces. After the fact, I found the access hole hidden in the tin on the top left of the engine. All the oil, grease and grime didn't make it easy to find. Here's a pic for anyone interested:

...picture forth coming...

And she's out! (Bonehead tip: drain the oil before doing his. I know that sounds obvious, but I didn't. I ended up with most of the engine oil on my garage floor. Three bags of kitty litter and about as much time to clean it as it did to pull the engine had me back to normal. Uhg.)

(*Note: this picture was taken after I removed the torque converter)

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