Monday, August 31, 2009

Gravity and Friction

Well... it gets to about this time of the Summer when you realize all your Summer projects aren't finished yet. Some, not even started. I look back on the Summer and realize I cut down almost a dozen trees, cleaned and moved my shed, cleaned and re-organized my garage ( a couple of times), fixed some rotting door trim, and that's just the "outside" stuff. Indoors, we demo'd and redecorated my older son's room. It had this nasty wainscoating and plain yellow paint. Now, it's two-color (blue/gray), no wainscoating and we have a huge pile of Ikea furniture to assemble. Then there's the yards of stain-grade baseboard that we finally got done for the post-kitchen remodel / stairs / upstairs hallway.. and, of course, the remodeled bedroom. Like I posted when I first did the kitchen, you can't really complain because complaining sounds like disguised gloating about getting something done on your house. This is important because lots of that stuff happened in the last 2 weeks. So, very little got done on the bus.
I did finish the vacuum system... sorta. I finished the blockoff plate for the old vacuum pump... pretty much, and I determined that my hack together water flange resolution won't work. So, while struggling to get the engine back into position last night ( I wasn't diligent on the removal, and its not setting on the jack thing quite straight, so it's being a bear), I started thinking again about getting a post-production fuel tank. For reference, here are some measurements surrounding the fuel tank:

Bay window fuel Tank: 14"D x 10"H x 37"W
Bay window fuel Bay: 14"D x 11.5"H x 40"W

split-window fuel tank: 11"D x 9"H x 35" W (edit 2009-09-01)

If I can get a tank, with outlet/inlets plus a fuel level sender for less than the cost of a vacuum pump, then it makes more sense. This, of course, is before we think about the cost of a custom water flange, and the possible revenue from selling the old cleaned, painted and relined original tank. So far, there's a tank for $125 at CIP1, and a fuel sender from the web for about $80. That's close enough for more study.

West Marine offers "below deck" fuel tanks that appear promising, and at a reasonable cost. Model number 8978447 appears to be close at 10.19"D x 10.19"H x 32"L, but the sub-print says to give an extra 2.5" for the inlet. Now, looking closely at the picture, the inlet is a straight pipe pointing straight up. Perhaps, a 90* turn could fab on there and fit within the 11.5" lid. The vent also looks like it juts up a bit far (far end of the tank). Now, if I could only see one live in person....

That's all for today,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Engine mount tower fab'ed

On Sunday, Hal was able to make some progress on the custom bracket for holding the stock mount to the bus frame. A few weeks back, he fabricated a bar to go across the rear of the engine bay (See Mount Re-started). Upon that bar, a "tower" of some kind was needed to meet the stock engine mount. Now, we spent some time thinking about going another route with engine side-brackets, but we return to the original plan.

The tower is a pretty simple looking box that will bolt to the bar and then bolt to the mount. Some kind of cross-bar will probably appear to help control any torquing, but the general appearance can be seen in the photos. The top of the tower needed to be slightly cut-out to accommodate a dip in the mount. That may be visible in the close-up.

That's all for today. Early this week was spent visiting with or helping friends, and this weekend I'll be out of town, so there won't be any headway until Sunday afternoon at the earliest. Even then, I have a bedroom to paint and a pile of wood trim I need to stain, seal, sand and clear-coat, so next week doesn't look too good either. It can't be all fun & games I guess :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

vacuum pump block-off plate

After looking around TDIClub, its pretty obvious I overpaid Kleiner's for the vacuum pump. First off, it was full of crud so it had to get cleaned out. The main vacuum port was clogged and it had to get reamed out and then cleaned. Nasty. Adding insult to injury, I probably paid double what I could have paid at TDIClub. So, net-net, I won't be buying anything from Kleiner's anymore, and I strongly encourage you to avoid him too. He runs an eBarf store out of a chop-shop wrecking yard in Ohio under a variation on the name Kleiners Auto. Be aware.

Anyway, this realization prompted me to follow Justin's advise and just re-use the engine-block-side of the pump and put a plate where the big round thing bolts on. There are 3 bolts that thread into the round pump, so in theory, it should be pretty easy to fab a plate. Since very little of engine-side of the pump is open/exposed, the plate does not need to be as big as the pump-side. It does need to span the 3 holes an not block the engine mount points.

The only other consideration is regarding the oil flow in and out of the pump. I'd rather not create an oil passage block, so we need to consider that oil is pulled into the pump through a small hole in the mounting plate and into the center. At the bottom of the pump, the oil seeps back into the engine. So, a channel needs to be created in the blockoff plate to allow oil to flow from the center hole to the drain.

I have a picture here what I was able to get done yesterday around a morning spent cleaning the garage and an afternoon hosting a party. I roughed-in the oil channel (the shiny bit on the left-ish lower side). I will smooth that out with a dremel this week. Otherwise, the plate was made from a leftover bit of steel that got cut into a shape that looks a little like the state of Montana. Given time and interest, I'll cut off some of the extra overhang material, but its not exactly necessary for functionality. You can see what's not needed in the top photo with the pump set in place. The only uncertainty is whether I need to cut a track for the seal that is on the pump-side or not. Hopefully not.

Hal did visit last night, and he got a few hours worth of great progress on the mount work. I'll post on that tomorrow or Wednesday after I've had a chance to take a few pictures. Next up: mounting the vacuum ball and then switching focus back to the starter. Then, I'll look into connecting the axles and shifter so we can start planning the move of the bus into it's Fall/Winter location along the side the garage (out of the elements).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

what's that soft sucking sound?

What's that soft sucking sound? It could be the money trickling out of my pocket on this project, but its actually the sweet sound of a vacuum system nearing completion. I spent this week replacing the vacuum lines on the 3-valve vacuum system that comes on a ALH TDI engine. After diagramming which port on which valve went where, I was able to determine with lines I needed to cap-off, and which needed to route to its original end destination. When you look at the 2 main valve, one has a light colored top and the other has a dark colored top. Both have a port coming off the top pointing to the left, and a port directly beneath it also going to the left. On the opposite side there is a port heading to the right. I labeled the ports: White (top left, lower left, right) as A, B and C, the Dark as D, E and F respectively.

This is the line mapping:
A: goes to a "T" (call offshoot A') to the white side of a dashpot to one arm of a "Y"
A': goes to vacuum ball
B: runs to the vacuum port on the turbo
C: to F through "T"
D: goes to a "T" (call offshoot D') to vacuum pump
D': to other arm of the "Y" ( from port A)
E: to EGR
F: to "T" (call offshoot F') to C
F': to aircleaner
"Y": goes to bottom port of 2-port valve. the other port routes to the EGR arm actuator.

Obviously, I don't need any of the EGR related ones, so my line mapping is a little less complicated. Port E was blocked off immediately. The top port of the 2-port valve was blocked off.

I took the assembly and mounted it onto the spare tire thing that hangs down the left side of the engine bay. The picture here shows the original stock studs after I got them through the steel. It took considerable reach and some pounding with a rubber mallet to get them seated all the way. I didn't put much vibration muffling in there, but I'm hoping it'll be fine. We'll see. I mounted the 2-port valve on the side too, since it doesn't need to activate anything anymore. It needs to have a vacuum signal, though, or the computer will be unhappy.
I still need a vacuum pump, and a place to mount the vacuum ball. I removed the mounting bracket from the engine and will mount it to the wall near the rest of the vacuum components. I figured that keeping the lines short, and the system all together, I may not bork it up with other work. I'll take a picture when the ball is installed and upload it.

I don't know if Hal is coming over today or not. I got a dogbone mount from a guy on the TDI list for little more than the cost of shipping, and it had just been re-bushed. Just holding it in the air, it looks like there are lots of different ways we can integrat it, and there is plenty of room.

Next, I'll be finishing up the vacuum system: vacuum ball mounting, shopping for vacuum pump, fab'ing a blockoff plate. With spare moments, I'll be working on the engine hatch.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The rounder we go....

... the faster we get.

Its been a busy week for the dog days of Summer:
The band started up again after taking 9 months off. That ate up my Monday night.
I broke out the grill and hosted my folks on Tuesday.
Wednesday, I got my other TDI's timing belt replaced (on my '00 Jetta). We had long design conversations about the bus that will influence what we do over the next few weeks.
Friday, I went partying (great party, Ed), Saturday I went canoeing all day, Saturday night I celebrated my mom's 75th birthday and Sunday I spent the day moving a shed, and cleaning a 20' x 30' area of junk. Yes, I still hurt.

Basically, I had no time to do bus stuff, so it was kind of a "break". Today, I'll cover the design discussions.

Mount Brackets
Justin reminded me what my original design was: use the timing-belt bracket with a stock TDI mount, then retrofit a dogbone mount on the driver's side to handle the engine twist during acceleration. It was during this conversation that I realized how far from that plan we had wandered with a small decision here and a small decision there. I found a guy on TDIClub who was selling his just-rebushed stock dog bone mount. He had the work done, and then switched to a performance one. His loss = my gain. I hope to have it in-hand by next weekend so we can integrate it.

Vacuum sucking
The vacuum lines on my Jetta are just about toast. Since I have to replace all the lines on the bus engine, it seems like this is the best next thing to tackle. I suppose I'll order close to 20' of vacuum line and do the Jetta. Then, with that knowledge in-hand, I'll do the bus engine. Remember, the bus engine doesn't have the same visual cues that the Jetta engine does when you look at a Bentley.
We talked about the vacuum pump, and both regretted the tossing-out of the old broken vacuum pump I had on the engine when I received it. I could have used the engine-side half of that pump with a simple plate and been able to sell the good pump. I may have to sacrifice the good pump to make a good block-off plate. Bummer. Last, there was the brief discussion about a belt-driven pump versus an electric aftermarket pump. We both felt the aftermarket would be less expensive (at least in terms of hours spent), and potentially more reliable than a belt driven pump. I'll be ordering one once the next paycheck clears.

This week, I'll be going throguh the garage looking for the vacuum line I bought a couple of years ago. If I can't find it, I'll be ordering more (yeay). If it turns up, I'll replace the lines in the Jetta, taking note of what I'm doing, so I can repeat it with the bus. Maybe I shuold reverse that order so if I ghoof it up, its on the engine that isn't depended upon. Anyway, there's always filing the hole and the engine cover. More when something happens...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sunday Sweaty Sunday

Hal arrived shortly after noon on Sunday after making his rounds through the small VW event at Portland International Raceway (PIR). Considering the number of air-cooled (and water-cooled) Volksies in the Pacific Northwest it is surprising how poorly run and barely attended a VW meet is here. Of course, I didn't go, so I guess I'm part of the problem. To be fair, the one flier I saw was at a VW-only parts shop, and the flier didn't have specific event names or times on it. Anyway, he arrived ready to work, and we got to it relatively soon after he arrived.

Mount Brackets
Hal and I have been going around on how the engine would mount into the bus. When I started this project 2 years ago, I had planned to mount something to the sides of the block and route that to the frame rails. I'd thought about using hydraulic mounts or something along those lines. I had "Ed the Welder" even fab something (before I got the engine into the bus), but he didn't do the work as I had initially described (no rubber mounts, so the bus was gonna vibrate like a paint mixer), so that idea got tossed. I moved to the "we'll do it kinda like the stock way, with the big mount coming off the bracket that goes around the timing belt. Well, now we're back to the brackets on the sides. That's how the Aussies do it. That's how the Brit's do it, so that's how we'll do it here in the colonies. Hal was able to make some head way on a stock mustache bar by extending the frame rail brackets by a couple of inches. It doesn't sound like much, but that was a few hours of welding and grinding to get to that point. With the hotter and muggier Summer we've been having, we had to take many breaks. During one of the breaks, we took a run to Home Despot for a drill bit that we fried. During another we hit the web searching for suitable rubber mounts. I regret selling that pair I had in hand 2 years ago. They may not have been perfect, but they were in hand. Anyway, we're going to try a Dodge truck engine mount. I'll be picking up a couple this week. We only need one to verify it, but I can just as easily return 2 as 1, and if we like it, I'd rather not make that stop twice.

Keep on tanking
Around helping Hal at various points and helping clear construction debris from inside my son's room, I was able to get some more traction on the fuel tank. The original fuel filler hose for the 1972 VW Bus is no-longer-available (NLA). So, in order to replace a failing (or 30+ year old) hose, you need to be creative. I took the old pipe down to the muffler shop around the corner and had them bend a pipe along the same contour in the same inner diameter. Unfortunately, exhaust pipe is much thicker than the old fuel filler hose. This became important, but for a few bucks ($10), I have a pipe that will last a long time. With my angle grinder, I cut off enough of the steel pipe so it would fit between the tank and the filler pipe with an inch on space between. Last week, I picked up a 2-1/4" Gates fuel-filler hose (pn 23976) at CarQuest. This was the stock diameter and the widest diameter they had, but I could only get the rubber hose one through much heavy sweating and torquing with a flat-bladed screwdriver. Once that puppy got on, there was no getting it off without considerable effort. I left about 2" of rubber hose sticking off the end of the steel, and had at least 1/2" on the bent exhaust pipe. Now came the fun part. Leaning over the back of the bus (on my toes), I twisted the rubber first onto the fuel filler and then onto the fuel tank. After tightening it down with a pair of new hose clamps, the fuel filler is now completed.
Remaining for fuel system:
(1) finding a location for the fuel filter
(2) mounting filter
(3) replacing fuel lines from tank to filter, including a "T" for the return line, and a clear cheap primary filter
(4) replacing injector lines
All of that will wait for now. I'll be switching to the vacuum system next. I will have to get a brake-booster capable electric pump, start mounting vacuum valves, replacing vacuum lines, etc. Hopefully, that won't take too terribly long.

top - a closer look at the extension on the right-side frame rail bracket.
bottom - wider look at the same bracket showing how is sits under the engine.