Friday, October 10, 2008

engine, meet transaxle - take 2

With life spinning at an increasing rate, I haven't been able to do much since my last post. I did, however, get the engine and transaxle mated last night. This is huge. If you're one of those Microsoft Project people, I just hit a diamond. Major breakthrough. The instructions Kennedy supplied are technically correct, but I would append them a little bit:

1: test fit clutch disk onto your output shaft.
This sounds so bloody simple, you might ask "WHY?". Well, sometimes the disk has a manufacturing defect where the center hub is not on an even plane with the disk. If that's the case, it will slide onto the output shaft, but not sit parallel with the bellhousing edge. When that happens, you can't mate the engine and transaxle. The pressure plate will hold it fixed flat, but the output shaft won't be able to get in there. Fortunately, I did not have this problem.

2: leave the adapter plate off for your first fitting.
Basically, this gives you an extra inch of wiggle as you test mate the engine and tranny. Remember that inch in step 4.

3: slap on the flywheel, clutch and pressure plate.
This is pretty straightforward. Kennedy suggests torquing the flywheel to 55ft pounds. That isn't necessary for this step, sinceit all comes off and goes back on again. In fact, torquing might toast your one-use-only bolts. Set the clutch disk inside the flywheel and set the presure plate on. Loosely finger-in the bolts just enough to hold the pressure plate on there. Then, use an extra output shaft or alignment tool to set the clutch disk in the center. tighten down the bolts, using the jump-the-center torquing technique until they are no more than 18ft pounds (according to Bentley manual for the bus - there was not setting indicated in the Kennedy instructions).

4: attempt to mate.
This is the key point that the instructions don't cover. Basically, mate the engine and transaxle without the adapter plate. It works great, and it proves that the output shaft can fit inside the clutch and flywheel. The adapter is an inch thick, so there should be close to an inch between the engine and transaxle at this point. If you can't get them that close, something isn't right. Is there something hangng in the way? Are you sure the splines are aligning with the clutch disk teeth?

5: pull it all apart.
Leave the ATV jack alone (up/down-wise) and just wheel the transaxle back. This is important because once you get the angle right, you don't want to completely hose it now.

6: put the adapter plate onto the engine.
DO NOT PUT THE DOWELS IN. I don't remember if the instructions say when to put them in, but I strongly urge you not to do it now. You'll see why. Just torque down the mate-to-engine bolts according to the instructions (40 or 45 ft pounds depending on which bolt).

7: put the flywheel, clutch and pressure plate back on.
This time, torque it down to the spec (flywheel up to 55, pressure plate up to 18). Be sure to use the alignment tool or extra output shaft.

8: attempt to mate engine and transaxle for real.
It is in this step that you'll see why the dowels needed to be left out. In order to get the output shaft to slide into the clutch disk, you need to be able to rotate the transaxle slightly - even if you've followed all of these steps. Them dowels are designed to prevent that rotation, so you get into trouble if they're in there at this point. $170 worth of trouble. I was able to slightly rotate the transaxle (holding the rear end up off the jack a touch) and fit the output shaft through.

9: thread the dowels through.
Once the transaxle is pressed against the adapter plate, you can rotate the transaxle to your desired angle (upright, 15* or 50*) and thread the dowels through. Finger tighten as best as you can. Then, using 2 nuts on the long-thread end, tighten them all the way down into the plate.

10: nut-down the transaxle.
Now, just torque it down. According to the instructions, the torque limit is 40 ft pounds. I tightened down the nut on the starter dowel too, so I could see that the transaxle set onto the adapter all the way. That nut, of course, will have to come off to get the starter on.

This picture doesn't really show it well, but it looks really good. You can just make out the silver plate with the "KEP" lettering in the mass of black.

I have 2 seperate action items next. 1) get the engine into the bus around the raindrops and (2) solve the TDI-starter into an 002 starter hole question. Fortunately, my man Justin has offered to fabricate something. I just need to rough-up an example with wood or something. So far as getting the engine-transaxle into the bus? Well, I hope the weather is accomodating this weekend. Of course, I have a painting-the-livingroom project that I'm getting sucked into, so the bus may sit idle for a little longer than I'd like.

More later--

Sunday, October 5, 2008

There Goes Sunshine

Well, my hopes to beat the rainy season just didn't make it. The Autumn rains have begun and the bus is still on jacks in the driveway, and the engine/transaxle are still sitting on the garage floor. I had a few delivery issues, and some other things come up, but time just pushes out on projects this size. My last mishap was the killer, though.

"I didn't like the sound of that..."
I alluded to an issue with the adapter plate in a post a week or so ago. Here's what happened. After waiting for the clutch and pressure plate to arrive, I mounted them onto the flywheel using the extra output shaft I had from the 091/1 vanagon transaxle I had lying around. Once everything seemed aligned perfectly, I attempted to mate the engine and the transaxle. Since the engine is on a little wheeled sled and the transaxle is on a ATV jack, everything would move if I pushed. After about 3 hours of manipulating the transaxle it seemed to be aligned, but I couldn't get it the last 1/4". I figured the friction between the output shaft and the splines on the clutch disk was greater than the wheels resistance to moving. What I should have done was roll everything against a wall so I had some resistance to my pushing. Maybe I was tired, and should have just taken a break. Instead, I tried to close the gap by tightening down the nuts on the adapter plate. That proved costly. I used my torque wrench because I was concerned about screwing things up, so I set the torque wrench to 20 foot-pounds and worked the jump-the-center concept of torquing. Unfortunately, the plate was not designed to handle any torque that pulls or pushes it from flat. The KEP adapter plate is designed to hold the transaxle and the engine together (once flat) and from rotating relative to each other. So, the adapter plate's design combined with my ill-advised means of closing the gap lead to the adapter plate's failure. Yeah, that's right, I cracked it with less than 20 foot pounds.

Enter the rains.
So, I talked to Kennedy about the cracks in the plate. They said send the cracked plate, and they'll send a replacement. They even said they had a bunch on the shelf, so they could get it right out. So far, so good. Then, a week later, they tell me they'll replace it, but I have to pay for the new plate. That's not exactly replacing, that's a willingness to sell me another one. They did give me a 15% discount on the replacement plate (at least that's what I think it calculated out to). My costs for the Kennedy Engineering stuff has become a much larger percentage of the costs than I had intended. $440 for the original adapter kit + $170 for the "replacement" plate + $120 for the stage1 pressure plate = $730. That's a lot of cabbage. Certainly more than anything else on this project, and it irks me that they didn't give me a better shake on the cracked plate. Anyway,I haven't opened the box yet; it arrived on Friday.

While we were dicussing the plate, the sunny weather ended. Here in the Northwest corner of Oregon, the rainy season usually starts by the middle of October. This year, it basically started on the 2nd of October - 2 weeks ahead of average. Honestly, even if it was on-time, I ould be in the same spot, and I probably wouldn't have goten the engine into the bus. At this point, the delays from shipping, and the cracked plate negotiation cost me 2 weeks. So, I'm pushing my goal to have the engine in the bus, and the bus in the garage to Halloween.

I'll be re-attempting the engine - transaxle husbandry this afternoon. If all goes well, I may still be able to get the engine into the bus next weekend. Then, there's getting Hal over here to do some welding, clearing the garage, etc... Should be a busy couple of weeks. Oh ,did I mention I started a new job on Monday? Busy days, but life would be awfully boring if I was only trying to keep one ball in the air :D