Sunday, August 31, 2008

KEP on keeping on

Still no seal, but my man Justin says its in his hands, so its just a matter of a few days before its getting put onto Hapy's new engine. Justin offered to help install it. The rubber edge has a tendency to miss an edge, leaving a gap, so I welcomed his expertise. The rear seal is one of those items that is replaced once, maybe twice in an engine's life before it is entirely rebuilt, so I figured this isn't something I need to do on my own. I recognize Justin's time is valuable, so I thought I would test-fit the engine and transaxle. I figured that having the parts together once, and then pulled apart for the seal would make re-assembly later on (when he was here) much faster.

So, how works KEP adapter? I've had the adapter plate for almost a year. I didn't realize it had been that long until I went through the instructions and email threads. Whoa. I found, while digging through the paperwork and emails that I didn't really have a good idea of how to put the whole thing together. The instructions are accurate, but not at all detailed, so I had to contact the company about simple things like "which way does it go on?". After giving it a try, it turned out to be pretty straightforward. I detail the "how" below in case someone else needs a pictoral of the plate install.

Step 1 - decide your angle
The KEP adapter fits in 3 possible positions: upright , 15* (degree) and 50*. I didn't realize they had an upright option when I ordered it. The TDi engine sits at a 15* angle in the Jetta, Beetle and Golf, so I had initially planned to go with that. The 50* angle is necessary for a vanagon install (because their rear deck is so much lower). This could be a choice for a bus too, but some custom fabrication is needed to deal with the turbo. Personally, I'd rather have the engine look like it does in the Bentley manual for the TDi so when I have to do maintenance, I know where everything is.

Step 2 - find the "dowel" holes
Once you know your angle, take the adapter with the "KEP" lettering facing away from you. Place the adapter onto the bellhousing, fitting the lip of the plate inside the bellhousing. Rotate the plate into your desired angle from upright rotating counter-clockwise to 15* or more to 50*. Align the small holes with the mounting holes on the transaxle. I did this by croutching down and looking through the holes until I could see light. Mark all 4 holes with tape. I found that once the plate came off the bellhousing, it wasn't easy to be 100% sure which ones were the "right" ones. You can see the blue tape in the picture below.

Step 3 - put in the "dowels"

Pull off the plate and set it on your bench. In my case, I used the garage floor because my bench is covered in tools. Anyway, take the 4 "dowels" that came with the plate. They are the shiny silver bolt-looking things with threads at both ends. There are 3 that are the same length and one that is longer. Take the longer one (shorter threads away from you) and thread it into the upper left-hand dowel hole that you marked. This will become one of the bolts the starter hangs on. Then, thread the other 3 in the same way: shorter threads into the plate, longer threads sticking out. The picture to the left, here, shows which hole the longer one goes in. Depending on your orientation (upright, 15* or 50*, you will use the hole above, the same hole or the one below respectively.

Step 4 - hang it on the engine
Once the dowels are in, place the plate onto the engine. With the dowels, there's only one way to put it on: KEP facing out. If you kept the 2 upper transmission bolts (like I did), you'll have enough bolts to put the plate on a 002. I can't speak for the 091 bellhousing, but I was able to use the original bolts for the 2 upper holes that are on either side of the KEP lettering. You can make out one of them at the top of the picture on the right. There are 3 other holes in the plate that align with holes in the engine block. The 2 holes on the left do not require a nut and thread right in with 2 of the bolts provided. I used a longer one in the upper left hole, and a shorter one in the lower left hole. The one on the right requires a nut. I finger tightened everything, knowing I was going to have to separate the whole thing later.

Next, you put on the flywheel, the clutch and pressure plate, and mate the engine and transaxle. I'll cover that next time. As you can see from the 2 last pictures, there's no seal on right now. Not how you want to store your engine for very long. Fortunately, my engine is in an insect-free, warmed garage, and it will only be like this for a few more days. More next time--

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tanks for nuttin'?

Well, I'm still waiting for the replacement seal. I'm not sure what the hold-up is. If our Utah parts-man is anything like the local area merchants, the August slowness has gripped him too. So, I took this opportunity to re-measure some things, and I think I might have a problem.

First, I checked how far back into the fuel tank compartment the tank sits. It is so close to the front edge, its basically 0 inches. Ok, I'll be generous, and say its 1/4". Actually, upon rechecking, there is a beltline lip that runs around it (about 2" above the bottom) that is flush with the tank lip. That beltline sticks out 3/4". That's important.

Next, I checked how far out from the engine lip the top end of the engine sticks out... well, how far out the vacuum pump sticks out. 3 inches. Eek.

Ok... so how thick is the adapter plate? 1 inch.

How far out from the body does the transaxle stick into the engine bay when its in the bus? Well, that's hard to say, now that its on the ground. But.. the distance from the mounting ears to the lip of the transaxle is about 2 inches.

What's the net? 2 + 1 + 3/4 = 3 3/4" - (vacuum pump stickout) 3" = 3/4" of room

I was concerned that after all the work on the tank, I would not be able to use it without cutting or denting it. Honestly, I thought it was going to be much worse until I discovered the mounting ears reached back 2" from the front lip of the transaxle. I think, once I account for the body-mount, it will be just shy of 2". It looks like we'd still have at least a half inch between the vacuum pump and the fuel tank. I'd rather have more, but this is good news compared to where I thought I was when I started this post.

Well, hopefully, the new seal arrives soon. If its not here by the weekend, I will be test fitting the adapter plate without it. I'll post with pictures regardless.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fuel tank in

Well, I'm still waiting for the new rear main seal from our friend in Utah. Its unfortunate that it hasn't arrived yet, but I was able to get something done. I'd rather be moving forward on getting the engine and transaxle mated, but the fuel tank needs to be in before the engine goes in anyway. There's not a whole lot to putting the tank back in. Make sure the small square-ish foam seal is in place over the hole. Then, just push the hold-down straps out of the way and muscle the tank in. Connect the signal wire from the right side of the tank bay to the top of the tank. Connect the ground wire to the top of the body/frame. Push the bolts at the ends of the hold-down straps through the holes, and tighten them with a deep socket 13mm rachet.

I've cleaned up the threaded fuel line attachment, but I haven't put it on yet. I've heard that a Honda petcock fits these fuel tanks. I thought it might be interesting to put one of those on there instead of the old pass-through. The most obvious question would be "when would you want to shut it off?". Well, when you change the fuel lines, for one. It could be used for security, but who wants to roll under the bus to turn off / on the fuel flow? There are new petcocks that are vacuum operated that shut off the fuel flow when the engine cuts out. Sounds neat... for a gas engine. Diesel isn't flamable like gasoline, so the threat of pouring fuel onto a fire isn't quite as threatening. Then there's the question if diesel would destroy the fancy new petcock. Possible... in the end, it seems like one more thing that would be a hassle. I can always add one later. So, I'm going to take the "attachment" with me to a friend's house that has Honda's and see if this thing would thread onto a Honda. Logically, this would tell me if a Honda petcock would fit on the early bay fuel tank. Then, "the attachment" willll go on the tank, and all that I'll have left for the fuel tank is getting the supply and vent lines hooked up.

The vent lines should be quick, unless they need replacing. Routing the lines from the tank to the hard lines will be easy. The thing I need to figure out is what to do about the other end (routing into the air intake) and the thick vent line that connects to the fuel filler. That vent is supposed to vent fuel fumes back into the pump when you're filling up, but I think I may use that topside access for the fuel return line instead. Not sure on that yet. Regardless, next, I'll be hooking up the fuel filler line and the 2 side-vent lines. I'll leave the rest for later.

Hopefully, my next post will be about getting the rear main seal on, followed by posts about the fitting of the transaxle and engine together. I still need a permanent clutch/pressure plate and a starter solution, so there's lots still up in the air. Time is getting tight, too. Figure the rainy season starts by mid-October here in the Pacific NorthWest. If I want to be working in a dry location, I need the engine in the bus and the bus in the garage before then. Its gonna be tight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Parts is parts

I had one last maintenance item to deal with before I started mating the engine and transaxle - the engine rear seal. I had ordered one from "BleachedBora", but the part numbers got mixed up somewhere along the way and the part I got was a rear engine seal, but it wasn't the exactly right part. Apparently, gone are the days that VW makes the same part for all of their cars.

First, some orientation. The engine rear seal is what holds the engine oil inside the engine at the point where the driveshaft/crankshaft comes out of the engine to attach to the transmission. Ordinarily, people don't change these very often at all. In fact, most people dson't change them at all. If things start acting funny with their car, or there's an oil puddle they either sell the car or pay the dealer some ridiculous amount to pull the engine, seperate the transmission from the engine and replace a $40 seal. So, it seemed like it was a good idea to replace it when it was all exposed in front of me.
So, if you're looking at the crankshaft/driveshaft, there are 6 bolt head pointing at you going around in a circle. There are 2 others that are pointing at the ground that come up into the seal housing from below. These 2 from-below bolts are not the same for all ALH engines. Why!?!? So, I got the seal with the slightly smaller bolt holes, so the seal didn't fit. So much for preparing for mating engine and transaxle this next weekend. Another one is on the way, so I may still be able to get the engine/transaxle mated, but it will be a much longer day now.

Start me up...
I've spent some time over the last couple of days thinking about how I'm going to start this engine once its all together. The original 1972 starter will fit, but it isn't strong enough to turn a TDI engine. The TDI starter has a different bolt pattern, so it won't fit. There are "high power" starters out there, but the word on the street is they don't last very long, but they would fit, and would start the engine for a while... before they suddenly fail. So, we look to what the vanagon TDI converters do. They're lucky. They have a resource in Karl (at WestyVentures) that fabricates starter adapter plates. They make it so the TDI starter will fit into the bellhousing of a mid-70's through early 80's transaxle (the 091). Unfortunately, the 002 starter (for transaxles manufactureed between 1968 and 1975) and the 091 starter aren't identical. The shaft sticking out of the 002 starter into the bellhousing is 1/2" shorter. So, if Karl's adapter were to be used on a 002 transaxle, the gear would stick a 1/2" too far into the bellhousing, missing the flywheel. Argh.
Now is when you start thinking... why didn't I just buy the 091 adapter plate from Kennedy Engineering? That bellhousing would have fit my transaxle, and I could have used Karl's adapter. So.. back to the drawing board. I'm looking for a burned out TDI starter now, thinking that I may be able to fabricate something. If not, I may start looking for a KEP adapter setup for a 091 transaxle. This is where the money on conversions is lost. I thought I was saving money by not going 091 out the gate, and now I may end up there anyway. But first, I lose a bunch of time and money. Drat.
More next time--

Friday, August 15, 2008

transaxle out

Like the title says, the transaxle (transmission) is now out of the bus. In terms of steps, its pretty easy... once the engine is out. The Bentley is accurate, and the Muir book is not. ell, I found the Muir book confusing on this, and the Bentley simple, so maybe Muir is right. I loved that book when I first got my bus. He explained everything in such conversational terms, it was easy to follow. Now that I've gotten used to the service manual and the terms for the different parts, the Bentley manual is easier to follow. Of course, the Bentley assumes you have this long list of weird VW tools that nobody has, so you have to use a blending of the 2 books for most things. The removal of the transaxle was one of those cases.

First, undo the clutch cable. This means spin the wingnut on the end until it falls off in your hand. You'll have to put a vice-grip or hold the end of the cable. I used a screwdriver in the end of the cable (it has a little slot for that). Pull the cable free of the clutch engaging arm (not sure what the real term is), and put the wingnut back on the end of the cable. Don't tighten it, but make sure it doesn't fall off either. Then, remove the 2 bolts that are holding the next secion of the cable to the transaxle housing. This is called the bowden tube, and it helps you adjust the clutch cable movement. It is held on with 2 13mm nuts. One of mine was so rusted on, the bolt unthreaded from the transaxle. I'll have to fix that later. Anyway, at this point, the cable is not longer connected to the transaxle, so we move on to the CV joints, then the shift linkage.

The CV (constant velocity) joints need to be unbolted from the sides of the transaxle. Now, a few years ago, that would have been a very scary sentence to read. But now, its just a matter of finding the right Allen wrench (6mm) and going to it. Before you do, check the travel of the axle. Hold the axle right at the transaxle and try to move it front to back. Does it move? That CV joint needs replacing. Check the other end too. I got lucky and didn't have to replace any of them. Pull all of the Allen bolts off, or at least enough to separate the bolt from the transaxle. Pop the joint into a plastic bag, tape it up so water and dirt can't get in there and move on. You can either wire the axles up in the air or let them hang free. Somewhere in the pictures, you should see one of each.

Disconnecting the shift linkage is eerily easy. The Bentley says to have the transaxle in 3rd gear. Muir says neutral. I went with the Bentley, and put it into 3rd. Then, slide under the bus, cut the safety wire and unscrew the little square bolt that holds the shifter coupling to the front of the transaxle. Now, all that's holding the transaxle in are the 2 mounts. Grab a support. Bentley says to use some weird VW tool. Muir says to use a board and some chain. I used an ATV/Motorcyce jack - I bought it for engine drops, and it works great for transaxles too. If you do the same, slide the jack in the rear. Jack up the transaxle just a touch - just enough to support its weight. Disconnect the front transaxle mount. Mine had a 17mm and a 16mm head bolt. I thought that was pretty strange, but that's what fit.

Bentley described the next step as just sliding the rear support bolts out. Well, they failed to mention that the bolts threads work into threads in the top of the transaxle. Unwind them, and the bolts work their way out. Then, drop the transaxle and pull it on back.

Since I changed my transaxle gear oil less than 4k miles ago, I didn't drain the transaxle first. You might want to do that if you don't know when your oil was changed, or if you know it due (which, if you don't know when it was done, its due). Well, that's it for today. With the transaxle on the ground, I need to replace the rear main seal on the new engine, and I'm ready to start mating the transaxle, and the new engine on my garage floor. more later--

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

engine bay / fuel tank bay painted

Just a brief update with this weekend's antics. After completing the de-greasing and cleaning of the engine bay and the fuel tank compartment, I performed rust treatment. The concept of rust converters is pretty much the same, and the price differential really comes down to how pure the contents are. In the end, the rattle can stuff works well for hard to get to spots, and the milky goop works fine for flat brushable areas. Of all the choices, I prefer the Eastwood Rust Encapsulator, but shipping is getting expensive, and I will usually top-coat or otherwise paint whatever I'm treating, so I use the Eastwood in targetted areas. The engine bay and fuel tank compartment weren't. I used the brush-on milky goo that you can get at NAPA. It is easy to locate locally, you can use multiple applications, it doesn't smell and it is paintable after 24 hours. Sweet.

While I was getting the rust converter, I grabbed a couple of cans of plain blue paint. I decided a while back that when the day ever came to do body work on the bus, I'd paint the lower section blue. I suppose any other color would have worked fine too, and there are probably some VW purists out there that are cringing at the thought of changing the color. Sorry, but all Dove-White is just really boring, and looks dirty/crummy pretty easily. Every time I got out of the engine compartment or out from underneath, I'd leave a fresh grease-mark with my gloved hands. That's just one more reminder that white shows everything, just like black always looks dusty. Anyway, I digress. So, I papered off the sound absorbtion and shot the fuel tank compartment and the engine bay with NAPA plain blue paint. Now, when the rest of the body is done, the engine bay will sort-of match. Well, it will match better than grease-marked Dove-White would have.

Once the paint dried, I degreased and cleaned all the wiring and re-fit the looms, including the rear light assemblies. I intend to replace those one day, as they are falling apart, but that cost will have to wait. More on the transaxle drop next time-

Thursday, August 7, 2008

fuel tank prep inside and out

I haven't documented this process yet. Now that it's about to go into the bus, I wanted to snap a few pictures and write down what I did. I thought that pulling the tank and sealing it would be a good idea before changing fuels (gas to diesel). Add to that, the fact that the fuel tank had probably never been out of the bus, there was a pretty good chance that there was a bunch of gunk in there. Maybe rust. Maybe some kind of foreign objects. Oooh.

So, if you're going to do this, I bought my tank coating stuff from Eastwood. Many sites recommended using muriatic acid to clean out the rust. I found something at HomeDepot that claimed to work as well. "Hmm," I thought. "Sure." I bought a bottle of it, thinking it could only waste my time and money, but wouldn't make things worse. I also got a spray can of "TankTone" from Eastwood for the outside. Of course, you need a bucket for the cleanser stuff, rubber gloves to protect your hands and rags. You may want a replacement fuel level sender or at least a new gasket. I didn't replace either, and I'll post if that decision ends up haunting me.

Getting at it-
You don't have to remove the engine to get the tank out, but honestly, you'd be crazy to go through that much effort. If you want to go that route, you have to pull the ignition and fuel system out, and even then, its harder to get the tank out. So, you (wisely) drop the engine. Once out, pull the firewall. There are the obvious screws, but on an older bus ike mine, there are 2 hidden screws on either side of the transaxle. After about 30 minutes of looking and poking around, I grew impatient and pulled those last 2 screws with a pry bar. Not exactly pretty, but effective. So, now you're looking at the fuel tank in its native state. Remove the ground screw for the fuel sender from the ceiling and unplug the signal wire from the right side. The tank is held down by 2 straps that have a bolt that goes through the floor and is held down by a nut. 13mm, IIRC. Disconnect the fuel feed hose from the filler (behind that paintcan lid looking thing to your right), disconnect the vent lines, and the tank is ready to come out.... almost. Two things first: 1 - disconnect the fuel line from the fuel pump and drain the tank (completely) into a bucket. 2 - remove the fuel line from the bottom of the tank.

The tank takes some wrestling to get out, but it will come out. My tank had some surface rust on it, and a little varnish on the inside, but otherwise, it was in really good shape. The tank bay was dirty and had some surface rust too, but it was solid. So, once it was out, I took a bunch of pictures, and got to work. The step-by-step how-to comes with the Eastwood products, so I won't detail them and possibly do it out of order. Basically, the varnish is removed, the rust is neutralized and the inside is coated with this white milky stuff. The picture to the right is a poor picture of the inside of the tank. That shiny column in the middle is the fuel level sender.

After the inside was done, I shot the outside with the TankTone. Now, its ready to go back in, and it looks great. Hopefully, it can withstand the wrestling back into the bus without getting all scratched... not like I'd really see it anyway.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Fuel tank bay ready

I was able to get a few hours in on Hapy today. Hapy day. What to do first? Well, according to the most recent plan, I need to get the engine in before the rains hit (mid-October), so anything that heads down that path would be good. I know the transaxle needs to come out, but the nagging (in my head) about having the fuel tank siting in my garage was too strong. I figured, I should get the fuel tank finished first, and then move on to the dropping transaxle business. So, after realizing I didn't have rust treatment stuff, I ran off to NAPA with the dog. 45 minutes later, I have some rust converter/sealer stuff, some spray adhesive and some generic blue paint.

After putting the dog away, I grabbed a wire brush and a dusting brush (old beatup fat paint brush) and crawled into the engine compartment. The instructions on the rust converted are in about 4pt font, but scrubbing with a wire brush and then cleaning before applying the goop appear to be pretty consistent instructions on these things. Once the rust was hit pretty hard, I pulled out the old shop-vac and cleared the dust out. It cleaned up pretty well (pictures of before and after should be here somewhere), but after re-reading the instructions, I realized that I couldn't topcoat for at least 24 hours, preferrably 48 hours. Great. I have a rare afternoon available (mrs and kids at rock show), and I'm at a wall.

So, I grabbed the Eastwood TankTone silver spraypaint and shot the fuel tank I'd prepped a few weeks eariler. "It looks brand new," my wife said when she saw it. "Sweet," says I. I then figured I'd get the sound absorbsion stuff in where there wasn't any rust. This included putting some asphalt/tar patches (like brown bread) on some of the exposed sheet metal. These materials are pretty similar but the manufacturers all claim theirs is the best. Anyway, they all convert vibration noise into low heat. I've found that you only need to cover about half the exposed steel to get the majority of the benefit. Again, the manufacturers say you have to use multiple layers, but there are diminishing returns after covering half, and those patches are spendy. Anyway, after the patches were down, I started working with closed cell insulation for absorb the ambient noise. Rolls of foil-sided insulation is available at home stores (Lowes, HomeDepot) for about $15 a roll. At least that's about what I paid when I got this roll a while back. A little spray adhesive and some careful measure/cutting, and the rust free areas are covered. I'll shoot paint in the engine compartment next, then I'll drop the transaxle.
Thanks for staying tuned-